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Measure HG - Proposed Sales Tax - March 3, 2020 election
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Lea esta información en español.

On March 3, 2020, residents of Hawaiian Gardens will vote on Measure HG: a Citywide three-quarters-cent sales tax increase that would generate approximately $550,000 annually if approved.

Measure HG, if approved, would create additional revenue sources to guard against the fiscal emergency the City will face if the Attorney General passes regulations that would harm the Gardens Casino. All funds would stay local and the City would use the funds to maintain city services such as police, fire protection, paramedics, parks and recreation and street maintenance, and to make City improvements.

This webpage offers you information about Measure HG and how sales tax works within the City of Hawaiian Gardens.

This is what Measure HG will say on your March 2020 ballot:
“To keep local sales tax dollars in Hawaiian Gardens to maintain public safety; fix potholes/streets; maintain senior services; after school programs; improve City parks; and provide the ability to provide City services in the event other revenue sources disappear, shall the measure authorizing a three-quarters cent sales tax generating approximately $550,000 annually, until ended by voters, requiring independent annual audits, and all funds used locally, be adopted?”

Protecting Our Future

The sales tax rate in Hawaiian Gardens is currently 9.5%, and the City receives just 1.0% out of that 9.5%. The State of California and Los Angeles County receive the rest.

The statewide sales tax rate is 7.25%. Los Angeles County, the municipalities, and districts within the County are allowed to increase the sales tax up to a combined total of 10.25%. In other words, between L.A. County and the City of Hawaiian Gardens, there can be an additional 3.00% of sales tax. Los Angeles County has already used 2.25% of that allowable 3.00%. So, there currently remains 0.75% of “cap room” legally available to the City or L.A. County to propose their own local sales tax measures.

If voters approve Measure HG, it will protect City-generated revenues from future County-led measures and initiatives that, if passed, might not have direct benefits to the community. Neighboring cities are considering raising their taxes as well to claim the remaining “cap room.” If the City of Hawaiian Gardens does not raise its own taxes, the County of Los Angeles may raise the local sales tax with little (if any) benefits for City residents.

If Hawaiian Gardens voters approve Measure HG, the City will receive 1.75% of the 10.25% sales tax, instead of just 1.0% of 9.5%

Sources of 2019-21 General Fund revenue

Sources of the City’s General Fund revenue (Card Club = Gardens Casino)

What is the General Fund?

The General Fund is the primary operating fund of the City. It is supported by a large variety of revenue sources including taxes, permit fees, licenses fees, charges for services, rental income, fines, investment earnings and other sources.

The City uses its General Fund for services such as police, fire protection, paramedics, parks and recreation programs and street maintenance. Hawaiian Gardens also uses its General Fund for projects that improve the community, such as addressing homelessness, making parks better and improving facilities like the Teen Center and Senior Center.

Nearly 70% of the City’s General Fund budget comes from Gardens Casino revenues. The California Attorney General has proposed regulations that could mean the card club losing as much as 50% of its revenue. This proposed change impacting the Gardens Casino is the most critical issue the City has faced in decades. If the regulations happen, it could have devastating impacts on the City’s General Fund. A three-quarters-cent sales tax would help offset these potential losses and diversify the City’s revenue, making it more reliable for the future.

You can view the City’s Annual Budgets and Financial Reports on hgcity.org.

2019-21 Budget General Fund expenditure

How Hawaiian Gardens uses the General Fund (per 2019-2021 budget)

Video: Measure HG Explained

Video: Get the Facts Before You Vote on Measure HG

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Measure HG on the ballot?
The City Council unanimously declared a fiscal emergency because of the risk to City revenues from proposed regulations affecting card clubs. Nearly 70% of the City’s General Fund budget comes from Gardens Casino revenues. If the State passes the proposed regulations, it will drastically reduce funding for City services and programs as a result of drastic reduction to the Gardens Casino revenues. A three-quarters sales tax would help offset these potential losses and make the City’s funding more reliable

What may happen if Measure HG doesn’t pass?
If the City is unable to raise new revenue, and if the State’s proposed card club regulations take effect, the City will need to make large cuts to its services and programs. Hawaiian Gardens would suffer reduction in public safety services, resulting in a reduced police presence, potentially longer response times, and less attention given to traffic, fighting drugs and graffiti, gang suppression and other community services.

What goods and services can be taxed in the city?
The proposed three-quarters-cent sales tax applies only to goods and services within Hawaiian Gardens, such as restaurants, bars, gasoline, and retail stores like clothing stores. It does not apply to groceries or the services of a doctor, dentist or attorney. View this guide for more information about sales tax exemptions in California.

Is Measure HG a special tax or a general tax?
Measure HG is a general tax, meaning it will generate revenue to support general municipal services, including public safety, roads, and infrastructure. Since this is a general tax, simple majority voter approval (“50 percent plus one”) is required to pass Measure HG.

Why did the City Council have to declare a “fiscal emergency” to hold this special election?
In order for the special election to take place, the City Council had to unanimously declare a fiscal emergency–a State requirement for placing a tax measure on a ballot other than a regularly-scheduled general municipal election. The next general municipal election will be in November 2020.

Measure HG and Special Election Documents

How to Vote in the March 2020 Special Election

Visit the general Election Information page for full details about the City’s election process.

Register to Vote

To vote in an election, you must complete a voter registration form that ensures you are eligible to vote. The deadline to register to vote in any election is at least fifteen (15) days prior to that election. Voter registration forms are available at City Hall, the U.S. Post Office and the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office.

To have a voter registration form mailed to you, visit the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office website or call (800) 481-VOTE, extension 8683. In compliance with the Voting Rights Act, the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office provides voter registration forms in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Korean.

Vote By Mail

If you are unable to vote in person on election day, you may request to vote by mail (Absentee Ballot Application) up to seven (7) days prior to the election date. You must complete an application for a specific election and sign the application. You will then receive a ballot in the mail. The voted ballot may be returned by mail or it may be returned on election day to the proper polling location.

Permanent Absentee Voter Application

If you are unable to vote in person on election day, you may request to be placed as a Permanent Absentee Voter. A Permanent Absentee Voter is only required to apply once and does not need to request an absentee ballot for each election. However, if you do not vote for two (2) consecutive statewide general elections, you will be removed as a Permanent Absentee Voter and you will not receive ballots by mail.

You must complete an application for a Permanent Absentee Voter and must sign the application. You will then receive a ballot in the mail for every election. The voted ballot may be returned by mail or it may be returned on election day to the proper polling location. To request an application by phone, call (562) 466-1323. To request one by mail, write to:
REGISTRAR-RECORDER/COUNTY CLERK
P.O. BOX 30450
LOS ANGELES, CA 90030-0450

Military & Overseas Voter Information

Members of the military, their families or U.S. Citizens living overseas have a right to vote. These voters may apply and request an Absentee ballot and may vote as Absentee Voters. For additional information, please contact the Los Angeles County Registrar Recorder/County Clerk’s Office.

Lea esta información en español.