Myth: Contracting out our police services will save us money.
Truth: Depending on the situation, we could pay the same amount of money for less services. If we contracted with the Orange County Sheriff's Department, we'd see lower response times, loss of local control over pay raises, and higher turnover rates of leadership. Other attempts to build regional services will take time, money, and effort to conceptualize, and La Palma will inherit the legal liability of these other agencies.
Myth: The money raised will only be used to pay for pensions.
Truth: Unfunded liabilities have to be paid off. There's no changing the past. In order to pay for these unfunded liabilities, La Palma must cut services or raise revenues. The city has already cut so many vital services and staff positions. By raising revenue, we can actually restore cut services! A simplified example: A man has $1000, and he normally spends $500 for food and shelter. But he now has a loan of $800 that must be paid off. He can cut spending from $500 to $200 and try to live off a smaller amount. Or he can find $300 to pay for the $800 loan AND keep his $500 for food and shelter.
Myth: Businesses will be hurt by this measure.
Truth: The last thing we want to do is anything that will hurt our local businesses. Businesses won't have to pay any more than they currently do- revenue is generated by the consumer. The 1 cent raise is so small it won't affect spending habits of in-town and out-of-town consumers. The City of Stanton, who passed a similar measure, actually saw an increase in businesses and no abnormal loss of customers once the measure passed. This allowed the city to raise $3.1 million, which they used to develop economic development programs. We can use this money to attract new businesses and retain our current ones.
Myth: The $1.5 million expected revenue is just a guess!
Truth: The $1.5 million is a conservative estimate provided by the City of La Palma's tax assessors. Currently, just one penny per sales tax dollar goes to La Palma, which brought in $2.6 million in 2015. Measure JJ will raise an additional penny per sales tax dollar that will stay in La Palma, effectively doubling the amount La Palma would receive. If the city stays on track with revenue projections, Measure JJ will easily raise the $1.5 million to fund our police department and prevent cuts.
Myth: This will cost too much money!
Truth: Measure JJ only increases the sales tax by 1 penny per dollar, and does not affect your purchases on most groceries, prescription medicines, food stamp items and more. To put that in perspective, if you purchased all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ at Hwang So Go Jip, you'd only pay 10 cents more than usual. Compare that to a parcel tax, user utility tax, or any other tax where you're required to pay several hundred dollars annually! You're already paying at least the same rate if you shopped anywhere in LA County, including Cerritos.
Myth: The financial situation is overblown. We'll be fine if we do nothing.
Truth: The truth is, if we do nothing, our structural deficit will increase to $1.5 million by 2025, and our reserves will be depleted. We could dis-incorporate as a city, but we would STILL have to pay off our debts while losing out on every single service that La Palma offers to us.
Myth: This is a temporary solution!
Truth: Revenue for Measure JJ is projected to provide La Palma with surpluses for at least the next 10 years! This will allow the city to halt using emergency funds to balance budgets, instead allocating reserves to paying down mandatory debts. If this happens, the city will pay off required debts in 9 years instead of 30, and save the city $20 million! This will allow us to spend that money towards bringing back much-needed services.