Measure I raises the sales tax by a small amount (¾-cent) to maintain essential City services, to repair Pasadena's aging infrastructure and (with voter approval) to strengthen our public schools. All funds raised by Measure I (@$21-million a year) would be independently audited, and 100% of the money would stay in Pasadena. LA County could not touch it; neither could Sacramento or Washington D.C!
There are TWO major reasons for voting YES on Measure I.
First, Pasadena's ability to maintain essential municipal services including fire, police and emergency 911 medical services is becoming more difficult because of reduced revenues and increasing operating costs. Without additional revenue, the City has and will be forced to reduce essential city services beginning next year. That will affect property values and our quality of life. To help maintain essential services and pay for critical infrastructure like fire station, street and sidewalk repairs, the City must secure a reliable, locally-controlled source of funding that cannot be taken by another government entity.
The second reason is based on simple fairness. Under current state law, sales taxes in Pasadena can only be increased another three quarter percent (0.75%) before it reaches the state-imposed limit. Los Angeles County has already imposed 5 sales tax increases on Pasadena which annually generate $63 million. The County keeps 83% of that sales tax revenue for its own projects. It's very likely Los Angeles County will act in the near future to raise sales taxes again. If we do nothing and wait for Los Angeles County to impose this sales tax increase, history indicates Pasadena won't get much of it. However, if we make the first move and vote YES on Measure I to impose this final amount of sales tax ourselves before Los Angeles County can do it, the City of Pasadena keeps 100% of the revenue for local use.
So, vote YES on Measure I for two reasons. First, a YES vote will allow the City of Pasadena to maintain essential city services . Second, a YES vote guarantees that this much-needed revenue will go 100% to the City of Pasadena.
Measure J advises the Pasadena City Council to use one-third of sales tax revenue from Measure I to protect and strengthen public schools. This additional support is essential for our children's future.
Pasadena schools have made significant progress in recent years. Successful magnet programs focus on science, technology, and art. Dual language and international programs are drawing more parents into the public schools, from both within the district and from neighboring areas.
Now, however, this hard-won progress is at risk because the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) faces a major financial crisis.
The district has suffered from the unprecedented state funding cuts during the Great Recession. State funding support has increased since 2007, but even as funding has been restored to pre-recession levels, the rising cost of state and federal mandates has far outpaced revenue increases.
Due to demographic pressures, Pasadena also has fewer children than before, which means less state funding. Neighboring school districts facing these same issues have already taken action. Most have raised local taxes and invested in their schools. Pasadena has not.
PUSD has already begun laying off teachers and staff, eliminating site personnel serving students. Without Measure J, future cost reductions or state revenue decreases will further impact student services: class sizes may increase; art and music programs may be threatened; advanced courses in math and science and special programs will face significant challenges.
Our children deserve better. Measure J will provide stable local funding, independent of uncertain State and Federal funds.
Good schools benefit everyone in our community, help protect property values, and are essential for a strong economy.
To protect our schools we must pass BOTH Measure I and Measure J. Please join us in voting YES on BOTH MEASURES!
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