By Arnold Adler
HUNTINGTON PARK — Residents and visitors doing business in the city have received a sales tax reduction even before the voter-approved levy went into effect.
The City Council July 17 reduced the one-cent per dollar sales tax to three quarters of a cent. The vote was 5-0 and there was no discussion.
The reduced tax, which takes effect Aug. 16, will bring in an estimated $4.6 million a year as opposed to the $7.1 million annually expected from the whole one-cent levy, Finance Director Nita McKay said.
Those funds, which stay in the city, will be used for public safety, senior citizens and other programs, city officials have said.
City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman explained in a formal resolution that the one-cent sales tax increase approved by local voters June 5, coupled with a 2017 Los Angeles County sales tax hike of .250 cents to help the homeless brought the city’s total sales tax rate to 10.5 percent, slightly over the amount allowed by state law.
The one-fourth of a cent reduction dropped the total Huntington Park sales tax to 10.025, under the state limit.
The total sales tax includes the six percent charged by the state, the homeless .050 cent for homeless programs and several Los Angeles County transportation levies.
A public vote is not needed to lower the tax, only to raise it. No vote would be needed if at some future date the council increases the levy to the original one-cent, already approved by voters, Alvarez-Glasman said.
“The ordinance was placed on the local ballot as Measure S at the special municipal election held on June 5, and was approved by more than a majority of qualified voters in the city (73.6 percent for and 26.4 percent of voters against.)”
Only a simple majority was needed.