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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Measure U
Utility Users' Tax Continuation
Unincorporated Areas of Los Angeles County

Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 185,246 / 62.92% Yes votes ...... 109,190 / 37.08% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 28 5:11pm, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting (706/706)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis |

Shall an ordinance be adopted to validate and reduce Los Angeles County’s existing utility users tax from 5 percent to 4.5 percent; to continue funding essential services, including sheriff’s deputies, parks, libraries, street repairs, and other general fund services; update definitions to require equal treatment of taxpayers regardless of technology used; provide public review of expenditure and independent audits, and continue the low-income senior exemption?

Impartial Analysis from Raymond G. Fortner, Jr.
County Counsel
Approval of Measure U would amend an existing County ordinance by authorizing of the continued imposition and past collection of a Utility User Tax (“Utility Tax”) on communications, electricity, and gas usage in the unincorporated areas of the County, reducing the Utility Tax from 5% to 4.5%, and affirming that the Board of Supervisors may amend the ordinance for specified reasons so long as there is no increase in the tax levy.

The Utility Tax is a general tax that would be available for funding essential government services including Sheriff’s deputies, parks, libraries, street repairs and other general fund services. The Utility Tax would continue to be imposed on every person or entity using communication services, electricity, and gas in the unincorporated areas of the County, and would be imposed at a rate of 4.5% of the charges made for such services. Communication services subject to the tax include telecommunication and ancillary telecommunication services such as landline and wireless telephone service, voice over internet, paging, and text messaging, but do not include internet service. Gas services means natural or manufactured gas or alternate hydrocarbon fuel which is transported and delivered through a pipeline or by mobile transport. Electricity services means electricity and any supplemental services or other associated activities directly related to and/or necessary for providing electricity to the user. The Utility Tax would also be imposed on any non-utility service user which produces gas or electricity for self-use.

The Utility Tax would continue to be collected by the utility service provider or its billing agent at the same time as, and along with, the collection of the charges made in accordance with regular billing practices of the service supplier. The Utility Tax becomes a debt if not paid in accordance with the ordinance. Continued failure to pay may result in a delinquent penalty of 15% of the tax owed and interest at 1.5% per month until paid. The ordinance establishes an administrative procedure for refunds and appeals of the Utility Tax.

The County would be required to annually verify by an independent third party that the taxes owed have been properly applied, exempted, collected and remitted. The Auditor-Controller of the County is required to create a new account into which the proceeds from the Utility Tax shall be deposited. The Auditor-Controller must file a report with the Board of Supervisors by no later than January 1, 2010, and by January 1 of every year thereafter stating the amount of the funds collected and expended.

The Utility Tax would not apply to any person who is the head of household and who is both aged 62 or older and receives supplemental social security benefits, by filing for an exemption with the Tax Administrator.

This measure requires a majority vote of the qualified votes cast in the election held in the unincorporated area of the County for passage, and becomes effective immediately if passed.

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Created: January 24, 2009 10:34 PST
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