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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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City of Burbank
Measure P - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


24,567 votes yes (61.79%)

15,190 votes no (38.21%)

100% of precincts reporting (48/48).

To maintain City of Burbank's fire, police, 9-1-1 response; keep fire stations open; maintain the number of police/firefighters; repair streets/potholes; ease traffic; earthquake retrofit city buildings/bridges; maintain senior/after-school programs; address homelessness, other services and aging infrastructure; Shall the measure be adopted approving an ordinance establishing a 3/4¢ sales tax providing approximately $20,000,000 annually until ended by voters; requiring audits, citizens' oversight, all funds used in Burbank?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Amy Albano, Burbank City Attorney

The City Council has placed the “Burbank Infrastructure and Community Services Protection Transaction and Use Tax” (Measure) on the ballot. This Measure would amend the City of Burbank Municipal Code to enact a three-quarter cent (¾¢) transaction and use tax, to be added to the current sales tax.

Transactions and use taxes are levied on the same type of purchases as the existing sales tax. Currently, Burbank’s combined state and local sales tax is 9.5%. This is made up of 7.25% state sales tax, 2% for Los Angeles County

Transportation measures and ¼% for Los Angeles County Measure H – homeless initiative. If this Measure passes Burbank’s combined sales tax rate will be 10.25%; the tax would begin April 1, 2019, and the City should start receiving revenue from the tax in June 2019.

The estimated, annual revenue to be generated from this tax is approximately $20,000,000 and will continue until ended by the voters; meaning it could be repealed through another ballot initiative/measure. This is a general tax that allows the revenue to be used for any governmental purpose with 100% of proceeds spent in Burbank and under Burbank control.

The proceeds may be used for services, programs and infrastructure such as:
– maintaining City of Burbank’s fire, police, 9-1-1 response;
– keeping fire stations open;
– maintaining the number of police/firefighters;
– continuing senior and youth after-school programs;
– easing traffic;
– addressing homelessness;
– repairing streets/potholes;
– earthquake retrofitting of City buildings and bridges; and
– establishing an ongoing funding source for the repair and maintenance of existing City infrastructure.

The proposed ordinance has an oversight provision (see §2-4-2114 of the Ordinance) and states the intent for the use of the revenue generated from this Measure, as follows:
– revenue should be spent across a broad category of purposes, such as operations, including services and programs, and infrastructure; and
– revenue should not replace existing infrastructure spending, but rather increase the revenue available for infrastructure projects.

Also, this section of the ordinance provides a framework for independent oversight, as follows:
– requires annual accounting of the tax revenues received and expenditures made;
– requires an independent annual audit to ensure proper expenditure of the revenues;
– requires City Council to appoint an oversight board to advise the City Council on expenditure of revenue generated from this Ordinance, as recommended by City staff, annually for infrastructure projects; and
– the mission of this new Board, in part, is to ensure the reliability, maintenance and safety of the City’s infrastructure.

A “no” vote is against approving the Burbank Infrastructure and Community Services Protection Transaction and Use Tax, a ¾ cent local sales tax.

A “yes” vote approves the Burbank Infrastructure and Community Services Protection Transaction and Use Tax, a ¾ cent local sales tax. This Measure will be adopted and effective if passed by a simple majority of voters.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Protect Burbank Infrastructure and Community Services

Burbank is recognized for providing outstanding services to residents and businesses while maintaining AAA credit. This balance has been upset by the issues that contributed to the initial $30.5 million annual deficit our City faces.

First was the crash of 2008 when CalPERS (Burbank’s public employee retirement fund), lost a significant amount of its value. Subsequent state legislation requires Burbank to pay an additional $15.7 million a year for 23 years to bring our pension fund into balance.

Second is the growing list of critical infrastructure projects — paving streets; earthquake-retrofit of city buildings/bridges; upgrading libraries and playground equipment — which requires up to $22 million a year for 25 years to clear the backlog.

City Council cost cutting has saved an estimated $9 million annually without reducing service levels. But savings alone won’t do the job.

We need your support for a 3/4 cent sales tax that will generate approximately $20 million annually. If approved, our infrastructure and community programs will continue to provide the excellent service expected by our residents and, because one-third of sales tax dollars come from tourists and visitors to Burbank, they will help pay to maintain our community.

But if the measure fails, L.A. County can ask voters to approve a 3/4 cent sales tax for county purposes and Burbank will have lost $20 million annually.

This measure establishes a citizen oversight committee and independent financial audits because you are entitled to accountability and transparency.

- RAISE approximately $20,000,000 annually for vital city services;
- KEEP ALL FUNDS to be spent in BURBANK;
- REQUIRE CITIZENS’ OVERSIGHT BOARD to review funded infrastructure performance and recommend priorities;

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Vice Mayor

Council Member

City Council Member

City Council Member

Arguments AGAINST

The proposed sales tax initiative is not in the best interests of Burbank’s citizens. It is being promoted and endorsed by the Burbank City Council in order to address the city’s looming budget deficit but there has been no public discussion or detailed disclosure. This measure would add a ¾ cent local sales tax for every dollar spent on sales.

The current deficit situation is the result of poor financial management, reliance on bad advice received by the Council and general incompetence in the decision-making process. Now, the citizens of Burbank are being asked to pay the bill for the failures of our elected officials with no assurances of future accountability, oversight or transparency regarding how the city’s finances are spent.

Our budget deficit was created in recent years and the Council laid the groundwork for it. Several standout events led to the loss of millions of dollars in lost income and revenue endured by the city. They include an exorbitant compensation package for former city manager Mark Scott, a huge tax giveaway to persuade the IKEA store to remain in Burbank, and endless financial support for the failed DeBell golf course.

The city has clearly not exhausted alternative cost saving measures, as promised. The Council’s silence regarding details that actually demonstrate the necessity of this sales tax measure is a denial of its responsibility to the people of Burbank. We are only told general statements as part of a doomsday scenario.

This proposed sales tax measure should be defeated because the Council has not been forthcoming about the necessity of the sales tax or how the deficit actually developed. The Council is clearly attempting to cover up its own mismanagement of the city’s budget and total lack of financial sophistication.


Replies to Arguments FOR

The Burbank City Council has not justified a vote in favor of the pending sales tax initiative. Ten years have passed since the financial crash of 2008. The Council should not expect the people to bail out the city for its own lack of foresight and unwillingness to confront the imminent financial crisis years ago. Individuals need to adjust their personal budgets in a financial downturn. Why doesn’t that expectation apply to the City Council as well?

The sales tax measure itself needs clarification. The Council refers to it as a “3/4 cent sales tax”. More accurately, the tax would be ¾ cent per dollar or ¾ percent of the entire dollar amount. Which transactions are subject to the proposed sales tax and how long will it be effective?

There are other unanswered questions. Is there a planned allocation for the sales tax revenue? Who will comprise the citizens’ oversight committee and conduct the financial audits? If the intent is to rely on the added sales tax indefinitely, doesn’t that indicate a need to reduce the entire budget?

Despite the doomsday scenario presented by the City Council, it has not given any assurances that the proposed sales tax measure is more than a short term fix. The Council has not presented information which indicates that it is capable of stabilizing the city’s finances or to lay a foundation for a secure future. The sales tax measure, as stated, needs to be rejected by the voters.


Replies to Arguments AGAINST


The need for the proposed 3/4% sales tax increase is not due to any specific project such as DeBell or Ikea, particular services, or individual employee’s salaries.

It is the result of the 2008 downturn, when CalPERS (Public Employee Retirement Fund) lost 24% of its value, combined with a backlog of essential Burbank infrastructure projects.

For two years, City Council held public meetings to explain and discuss the city’s finances and measures needed to resolve both the budget and the infrastructure needs, finally proposing a three part solution to the problem.

First, Council imposed cost cutting measures that save an estimated $9 million annually and include increasing employee contributions to their pensions, paying market-based compensation, and workers compensation reform.

Second, in June our voters overwhelmingly approved the continued transfer from the Burbank Electric Fund to the General Fund.

Now, you are being asked to support the third part of the solution by approving a 3/4% sales tax increase to generate as much as $20,000,000 a year to fund services and infrastructure.

Your Council believes that you are entitled to full accountability and transparency. Measure P establishes a citizen oversight committee composed of Burbank residents and requires annual independent financial audits which will be available for public review.

The question is “Do we want to continue Burbank’s outstanding level of services and high quality of life?” If your answer is yes, then a YES Vote on Measure P is the best way forward.


Vice Mayor



City Councilmember

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