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Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Measure D
Telecommunications Tax Reduction
City of Downey

Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 23,807 / 79.80% Yes votes ...... 6,027 / 20.20% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 2 2:20pm, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting (62/62)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall an ordinance be adopted to reduce the tax on telecommunication services from 5% to 4.8%; modernize the ordinance to treat taxpayers equally regardless of technology used; and to preserve funding of general City services, such as police, fire protection, street maintenance; and for parks and recreation, library and senior citizen programs; subject to an annual independent audit?

Impartial Analysis from
Downey City Attorney
Summary. Measure D is proposed by the Downey City Council to update the City's existing Utility Users Tax ("UUT") so that it can be applied equally to both older phone technology and newer telecommunication technology. Measure D would decrease the telephone UUT from 5% to 4.8%. The electricity and gas UUT would remain at the current rate of 5 percent. The proceeds of the UUT can only be spent on City services.

Background. The UUT is levied on utility users in the City. The City has imposed the UUT on telephone, electricity and gas services at the rate of 5 percent.

The City's UUT Ordinance, like those of most California cities with telephone UUTs, was written before new telecommunications technologies like "smart" cell phones became available. The City's UUT ordinance was also written before several recent changes to Federal law.

The Measure. The Measure would include new telecommunication technologies and apply the UUT to all intrastate, interstate and international communications, regardless of the technology used to provide such services. As a result, private telecommunications services (e.g., T-l) often used by large businesses would be treated the same as traditional telephone services used by ordinary consumers. Measure D would apply to telephone communication services, including landlines, wireless, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). It would not apply to digital downloads such as games, ringtones, and music.

Measure D decreases the UUT on telephone services from 5 percent to 4.8 percent; the UUT on electricity and gas services will remain at the current rate of 5 percent. Voter approval would be required for any future increase in the rate or scope of services subject to the UUT. Like the existing UUT, Measure D proposes a general UUT with its proceeds deposited into the City's General Fund. UUT revenues help finance such services as police and fire protection, library hours, the maintenance of parks, playgrounds and athletic fields, and funds park, recreation, and senior citizen programs. Measure D requires annual audits to confirm the UUT is properly collected and spent according to the requirements of Measure D and other laws.

Measure D also reorganizes and updates the administration, collection and refund procedures for all telephone, electricity and gas users.

Measure D requires approval of a majority of voters. A "yes" vote for Measure D is a vote in favor of adopting the amended UUT Ordinance. A "no" vote against Measure D will reject the proposed amendments to the UUT Ordinance, and continue the UUT in its current form.

  Official Information

City of Downey
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Arguments For Measure D
The City has promised for years to continue lowering our Utility User's Tax - this is next step in that right direction!

Measure D reduces our existing Utility User's Tax on telephone services which will save our residents and businesses money every month. The tax rate will be lowered from the current 5% to the new, reduced rate of 4.8%.

By voting YES on Measure D, you will pay less taxes! No gimmicks, no hidden agendas - just an honest tax reduction.

Measure D will also make other important changes to ensure our Utility User's Tax remains legally compliant:

  • Modernize the utility tax to comply with recent changes in the federal laws regarding telecommunications services;
  • Prohibit the utility tax from being increased without voter approval;
  • Ensure continued oversight on how the Utility User's Tax revenue is spent by requiring independent audits; and
  • Ensure all taxpayers are treated equally.

Our Utility User's Tax helps pay for basic city services we all rely on such as police, fire, code enforcement, and street maintenance. Maintaining these essential city services while reducing the tax burden on our residents and local businesses is a critical step towards revitalizing our community. That's why the Downey City Council voted unanimously to place Measure D on the ballot.

Vote Yes on Measure D ... for Lower Taxes


DAVID R. GAFIN Mayor Pro Tern

MARIO A. GUERRA Councilman


LUIS H. MARQUEZ Councilman

(No arguments against Measure D were submitted)

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Created: December 17, 2012 13:44 PST
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