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Returns across L.A. County show voters were in a revenue-raising mood

March 05, 2009|Jean Merl

Officials in eight of Los Angeles County's smaller cities were breathing sighs of relief Wednesday after voters in Tuesday's local elections approved measures to ease municipal finance concerns. But not in Beverly Hills, where voters resoundingly rejected Measure P, which would have changed certain business taxes.

Supporters called the measure a "recalculation" of the way the city levies its business tax and said the measure would allow the city to maintain police and fire protection, continue to help finance the school district and support such basic services as paving streets and maintaining parks. Opponents, including some business interests, however, said the measure represented a "hidden tax" that would be passed along to consumers of a host of services, including doctor's visits and parking at lots. The measure failed 21% to 79%, according to the city's unofficial election returns.

Elsewhere, voters were more disposed to help city coffers. They updated and continued utilities user taxes in Bellflower, Cudahy, Gardena and Redondo Beach. Carson voters strongly approved a new 2% tax on monthly electricity and gas bills to help stave off service cuts.

La Mirada won voter approval to raise hotel taxes. The rate will increase from 7% to 9% on Jan. 1 next year and climb to 10% in 2013. Glendora voters gave a thumbs up to Measure C, which expands the types of allowable retail uses in one part of the city, and La Habra Heights will be allowed to continue to spend money it collects through a special fire and safety services tax.

San Marino voters, in advisory Measure C, strongly signaled their interest in imposing term limits on their five City Council members.

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jean.merl@latimes.com

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