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Smart Voter
Riverside County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Measure G
Proposal to Increase Transient Occupancy Tax
City of Palm Desert

Transient Occupancy Tax - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 5,063 / 42.93% Yes votes ...... 6,731 / 57.07% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of November 21 7:51am, 100.00%% of Precincts Reporting (20/20)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall Ordinance No. 1270 be adopted to approve an increase in the City's Transient Occupancy Tax from the current rate of nine percent (9%) to a rate of eleven percent (11%)?

Impartial Analysis from Palm Desert City Attorney
The City of Palm Desert currently imposes a 9% general tax on rent charged by the operator of any hotel, short-term rental, or similar lodging in the City of Palm Desert for guests staying fewer than thirty days. This tax is called the Transient Occupancy Tax ("TOT") and is collected by hotel and short-term rental operators at the time rent is paid by the guests. All funds collected from the TOT are deposited into the City's General Fund.

Measure "G," which has been placed on the ballot by the City Council of the City of Palm Desert, proposes the adoption of an Ordinance of the City of Palm Desert which would increase the TOT from 9% to 11%. The additional 2% in revenue represents about $2 million dollars a year to the General Fund.

The proposed TOT is a general tax and may be used for any general governmental purpose of the City, for example, marketing signature events, promoting tourism, hotel attractions/improvements, law enforcement and fire protection; street maintenance; and maintenance of parks and sports fields. In order for the City to adopt the Ordinance amending its Municipal Code and authorizing the increase in the rate of the TOT described above, Measure "G" must be approved by a majority vote of the votes cast on the measure.

A "yes" vote on Measure "G" would adopt the Ordinance described above.

A "no" vote on Measure "G" would mean that the Ordinance described above is not adopted.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure "G". If you desire a copy of Measure `'G" (Ordinance No. 1270), please call the elections official's office at (760) 346- 0611 and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

By: David J. Erwin, Esq. City Attorney, City of Palm Desert

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Arguments For Measure G Arguments Against Measure G
Tens of thousands of visitors come to Palm Desert annually to enjoy its scenic beauty, relaxed lifestyle, and more than 360 days of sunshine each year. The dollars they spend here support area businesses and are vital to our local economy.

Balancing the costs and benefits of tourism is essential to Palm Desert's uniquely wonderful quality of life. Setting an appropriate Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) rate is vital to preserving that balance.

TOT, also known as a bed tax, is a tax on visitors. It is not a tax on hotels or businesses that offer vacation rentals. It is collected by these businesses, on the City's behalf, from the visitors who stay there.

TOT funds are discretionary, which means that the Palm Desert City Council can use the funds for any legitimate municipal expense. These funds are used in a variety of ways in Palm Desert to help address the impacts of tourism and to support services and amenities that benefit visitors and residents including police and fire services, parks and recreation, streets maintenance, and more.

Palm Desert's existing 9% TOT rate was set 22 years ago and is the lowest such rate in the Coachella Valley. The proposed increase to 11% would still place Palm Desert among the lower TOT rates in the region, tied with the city of La Quinta and lower than the cities of Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, and Palm Springs.

Because this tax has no financial impact on Palm Desert residents unless they stay at a Palm Desert hotel, and because the money generated by TOT helps pay for the high level of service and benefits enjoyed by our community, the City Council supports the proposed change and asks for residents' approval in this November's election.

By: Van G. Tanner, Mayor, City of Palm Desert
Susan Marie Weber, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Palm Desert
Jan C. Harnik, Councilmember, City of Palm Desert
Robert A. Spiegel, Councilmember, City of Palm Desert

As a member of the Palm Desert City Council for over thirty years, a consistent priority of mine has been fiscal responsibility and that is why I urge you to vote NO to raising our TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax) from 9 percent to 11 percent. The proposed over 20 percent tax increase is a classic case of greed over need.

Palm Desert has always had the benefit of the lowest TOT rate in our valley. Having spent much of my work career in the travel business I know that convention planners and individuals look at the bottom line before booking into our hotels. Money not spent on TOT can flow into other parts of our local economy, thereby benefiting many of us.

Palm Desert has uncommitted financial reserves of over 50 million dollars, among the largest of any city in California. Palm Desert now spends nearly a million budgeted dollars on marketing related activities, and we can easily afford to continue or increase the programs noted in the "need" for a tax increase. There is simply no legitimate reason to pander to greed for more money to spend.

As I retire this year I wish financial responsibility to remain as a priority for our city. If and when actually needed, a TOT increase can be placed on the ballot again but now there is no need only greed for "more". Let's continue our over forty-one year success story.

By: Jean M. Benson Councilmember, City of Palm Desert

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