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Riverside County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Measure K
Amending User's Tax Ordinance
City of Indio

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 10,691 / 65.19% Yes votes ...... 5,709 / 34.81% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of December 2 11:01am, 100.00%% of Precincts Reporting (25/25)
Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the city of Indio amend and modernize the city's utility users' tax ordinance?

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
You favor adopting the modernization of the utility user's tax ordinance

A NO vote on this measure means:
You would like to preserve the present utility user's tax ordinance approved in 1985

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
Measure "K" relates to the City of Indio`s existing utility user's tax on electricity, gas, water, telecommunication services, and video services. It does not relate to the rate of the tax. The measure continues the exemption for senior and disabled persons eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") via the Social Security Administration and updates numerous definitions and technical tax provisions.

The City approved the existing utility user's tax ordinance in 1985, before the introduction and popularity of many new communications technologies and before several changes to federal law, namely, the Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act of 2000 and the recent change in the IRS interpretation of the federal excise tax on long distance service. Utility taxes in other California cities containing language similar to that in the Indio`s current ordinance have been the subject of legal controversy.

This measure treats all technology the same, and protects Indio from potential legal challenges that might otherwise impact tax revenue on long distance services, including cellular and any bundled services. Similarly, the measure applies the tax to all calls and private communication services, e.g., T-1, paging, and text messaging, whether within California, or to other states or countries. Internet services such as e-mail or digital downloads (e.g., music, games, and ringtones) will not be taxed.

Like the existing utility user's tax, the tax per Measure "K" would be a general tax, with its proceeds deposited into the City's general fund to allow the City to fund general governmental purposes and programs. For example, the revenue produced by Measure "K" will help the City to fund police, fire, road and park construction and maintenance and youth and senior programs.

The voters' choice is whether to modernize the utility user's tax as summarized here and eliminate potential challenges to continued collections under the 1985 ordinance, or not. A majority "yes" vote approves the modernization presented in Measure "K," while a majority "no" vote preserves the utility user's tax ordinance approved in 1985. Measure "K" does not effect the utility user's tax rate.

Measure "K" preserves and clarifies the utility user's tax exemption for seniors and the disabled. It adds a requirement, not contained in the current tax, of annual third party auditor verification that all tax has been properly collected and expended. It also contains a procedure for tax refund claims through which utility service users and suppliers secure refunds of tax paid in error through a one year period.

A "yes" vote means that you favor adopting the measure summarized above, while a "no" vote means that you are against its adoption. A majority of "yes" votes is required for the measure to be enacted.

By: Edward Kotkin
City Attorney

  Official Information

City of Indio

City Code of Ordinance
Go to Title V: Public Works - Utility User Fee
News and Analysis

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Arguments For Measure K
Indio's Utility User Tax (UUT) was originally adopted in 1985. It's a 23-year-old ordinance dealing with technology that needs to be updated and modernized to recognize technological advances. A "yes" vote on Measure "K" will not change the rate of the tax which is currently 3%.

UUT revenue is a major source of funding for city services such as public safety, street and park maintenance, and youth and senior programs. The UUT has greatly improved the safety and character of the City of Indio for its residents and is a key component to its revitalization.

Measure "K" clarifies the UUT's application to the vast range of technology that we use daily. The measure applies the tax to private communication services, typically a T-1 line or other updated technology, (which replaces a traditional telephone line, and is used for voice, data, and video, usually between a corporate headquarters and its branch offices). Cellular phone service is currently subject to the UUT and Measure "K" does not change that. Internet services like e-mail and digital downloads (e.g., music, games, and ringtones) are not and will not be taxed.

Measure "K" preserves and clarifies the existing Utility User's Tax exemption for seniors aged 62 and the disabled who receive Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") through the Social Security Administration.

The measure contains a refund provision to insure that errors within a one-year tax period are addressed. It also adds a new requirement not in the current ordinance that an outside auditor will annually verify the UUT has been properly collected and spent.

Measure "K" ensures all new and existing technologies are treated equally and protects the UUT as a vital revenue source for the continuation of Indio's public safety services, street and park maintenance, and youth and senior programs.

Vote Yes on Measure "K"!

By: Patrick Swarthout, Indio Chamber

     William Diaz, AYSO Region 813 Regional Commisioner

     Sean Roby, Indio Youth Sports Assoc. President

     Henrigus Peeters, President-Indio Police Command Unit

     Darren Hoopingarner, CDF Firefighters Riverside Deputy Director

(No arguments against Measure K were submitted)

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