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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Orange County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Measure K
Increase Transient Occupancy Tax
City of Mission Viejo

Majority Approval Required

17544 / 40.6% Yes votes ...... 25690 / 59.4% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall the City of Mission Viejo's transient occupancy tax be increased as outlined in thas measure?

Impartial Analysis from City Attorney
If approved by a majority of the voters voting in the November 2, 2004 election, Measure K would enact an ordinance increasing the City of Mission Viejo's transient occupancy tax. The proposed ordinance would increase the tax rate from its current rate of eight percent (8%) to a new rate of ten percent (10%) of the rent charged to a person occupying a hotel room within the City. The proposed ordinance also provides that proceeds of the tax would be collected by the City and placed into the City's General Fund to be used for general municipal purposes and shall not be pledged or designated for any particular use. Under the terms of the proposed ordinance and the California Constitution, only the voters of the City of Mission Viejo could increase the tax rate, convert it to a special tax pledged for a particular purpose, or expand the application of the tax. The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure K by the City Attorney pursuant to Elections Code Section 9280.

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Arguments For Measure K Arguments Against Measure K
Like most local governments in California, the City of Mission Viejo receives a portion of the sales and property taxes paid by its residents to provide police services, street maintenance, 40 public parks, a Library, City Hall, the Murray community center and the Montanoso and Sierra recreation centers. While it is the residents of Mission Viejo who pay for these services and amenities, all that come to visit our beautiful master-planned community receive benefit. Cities nationwide use the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), also known as the Hotel Bed Tax, as a means for having visitors help pay their fair share of the services and amenities they use while staying in town. Since incorporation in 1988, the Mission Viejo TOT rate has been 8%. A recent rate survey of the 34 cities in Orange County revealed a TOT rate range as high as 15% and as low as 6%, with the median TOT rate of 10%. In fiscal year 2005-06 the TOT in Mission Viejo is expected to generate approximately $575,000 per year. A modest increase to 10% TOT would result in an additional $143,000 per year. This additional money to the City could be used toward future roadway traffic improvements, proposed facility expansions or to fund recent police patrol increases to maintain Mission Viejo's exclusive distinction as California's safest city. An increase to the TOT will raise much-needed revenue without raising taxes on our residents, and fairly ensures that visitors to Mission Viejo pay a rate consistent with what Mission Viejo residents pay when visiting other cities. To continue to effectively and efficiently maintain the high levels of service residents have come to expect, and to be consistent with other municipalities in Orange County, we urge you to approve a 10% TOT rate by voting "YES."

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Anyone can come up with reasons to spend more and justify why they need to spend more money, in government it just seems that coming up with the justifications is the endemic addiction. This fiscal year we, the city council, voted to add police officers in our contract with the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Public safety is our No. 1 priority and the duty of local government, and Mission Viejo is consistently one of the safest cities of our size. Our city is not in dire need of more tax revenue - we just need to live within our means. Fellow taxpayers, death and taxes are guaranteed, so let's make life as enjoyable as possible and do our part to hold the line on tax increases. This is your opportunity to tell the city council to live within its means. Say Yes to fiscal restraint. Just Vote NO!
Do you ever wonder why we constantly hear the same old tax and spend arguments? It's because the nature of government and the propensity to rationalize more spending haven't changed. The proponents of tax and spend may offer the classic "we're not talking about a lot of money" argument, but they don't understand that we are talking about basic principles and the insatiable appetite of those in government who spend tax dollars. A little bit of life, a little bit of thought, a little bit of work; all of these things are what it takes to make money. Giving to or spending money on your children or grandchildren is a way of giving a little bit of your life to your loved ones, we should not chip away at the ability of people to do so. Forget about the socialist bureaucrat arguments and what other cities do. This is your opportunity to tell the city council to live within its means. Say Yes to fiscal restraint. Just Vote NO!

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Mission Viejo's TOT hotel bed tax rate has never been increased. Don't be misled that we are talking about increasing taxes to spend more. The truth is this will help to maintain our current service levels. An increase in TOT will ensure that visitors staying in our hotels will pay their fair share toward municipal services. The bottom line is this measure will not cost residents one penny, it simply brings Mission Viejo's rate in line with the current median TOT rate of 10% for Orange County and will help maintain what we already have. We love Mission Viejo and the lifestyle it offers just as you do; beautiful landscaped medians, well maintained streets, public parks and the safest California city in 2003. Responsible government like Mission Viejo spends tax dollars on these municipal services that residents not only expect but deserve. We have made a conscious decision to live the California promise and it didn't just happen, rather it was master planned and paid for by the residents who live here. Yet when visitors come to Mission Viejo, they enjoy all of our amenities and services without having to shoulder a fair share of the cost to provide them. The basic principle is that it is fair, reasonable and equitable to approve a modest increase in the TOT hotel bed tax so that visitors will help pay for the basic municipal services they enjoy while in our wonderful community. Vote YES because you are worth it!

Full Text of Measure K
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF MISSION VIEJO AMENDING SECTION 3.25.030 OF THE MISSION VIEJO MUNICIPAL CODE TO INCREASE THE RATE OF THE TRANSIENT OCCUPANCY TAX (ALSO KNOWN AS THE HOTEL BED TAX) FROM EIGHT PERCENT (8%) TO TEN PERCENT (10%) TO BE EFFECTIVE ONLY UPON APPROVAL OF A MAJORITY OF THE VOTERS VOTING ON THE ORDINANCE AT THE ELECTION TO BE HELD ON NOVEMBER 2, 2004 THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF MISSION VIEJO DO ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Transient Occupancy Tax Increase to Ten Percent (10%) Section 3.25.030 of the Mission Viejo Municipal Code is hereby amended to read as follows: "For the privilege of occupancy in any hotel, each transient is subject to and shall pay a tax in the amount of ten percent (10%) of the rent charged by the operator. This tax constitutes a debt owed by the transient to the city which is extinguished only by payment to the operator of the hotel at the time the rent is paid. The unpaid tax is due upon the transient's ceasing to occupy space in the hotel. If, for any reason, the tax due is not paid to the operator of the hotel, the tax administrator may require that such tax be paid directly to the tax administrator. The tax shall be collected by the tax administrator and placed into the City's general fund to be used for general municipal purposes and shall not be pledged or designated for any particular use." Section 2. Approval of Voters Required; Effective Date. This Ordinance, being for the increase of a general tax, shall be submitted to a vote of the people at the City's general municipal election to be held on November 2, 2004. This Ordinance shall become valid and binding only if a majority of the voters voting thereon vote in its favor at this election and shall be effective on the date that the City Council certifies the results of this election. Section 3. Amendment. The qualified voters of the City of Mission Viejo reserve the right to change the general tax enacted and imposed by this Ordinance. The City Council may modify the provisions of Mission Viejo Municipal Code Section 3.25.030, or assign it a different section number in the Municipal Code in order to provide for the orderly administration of the tax without a vote of the people, but the Council shall not increase the tax rate, convert it to a special tax, or expand the application of the tax without a vote of the people. Section 4. CEQA Findings. Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the levy and collection of these taxes is exempt from CEQA pursuant to Public Resources Code Section 21080(b)(8) and Section 15273 of the State CEQA Guidelines because the rates and charges are necessary to maintain existing improvements and operations within the City. Section 5. Severance Clause. If any provision of this Ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, it is the intent of the voters approving this Ordinance that such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect any other provision or applications, and to this end the provisions of this ordinance are declared to be severable. The voters approving this Ordinance hereby declare that they would have adopted this ordinance and each section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, part or portion thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more sections, subsections, clauses, phrases, parts or portions thereof, be declared invalid or unconstitutional. Section 6. Certification. Upon the certification by the City Council of the results of the election of November 2, 2004, that a majority of the voters voting on this Ordinance voted in its favor, the Mayor shall sign this Ordinance and the City Clerk shall attest and certify to the passage and adoption of this Ordinance.

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Created: December 15, 2004 13:32 PST
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