Nov. 2 ballot measures given unanimous trustee support

The Santa Monica Board of Trustees voted unanimously to support the inclusion of Measure Y and Measure YY in the list of propositions to appear on the city's Nov. 2 ballot during their Sept. 7 meeting. Measure Y is the latest measure that would increase the city's sales tax by 0.5 percent, (to 10.25 [percent). Measure YY, unlike Y, doesn't necessarily have to be passed into law, rather, it serves to communicate to Santa Monica lawmakers whether or not the city's residents want half of the funds to go to education.

What does this mean for SMC students?

Measure Y means an additional $12 million in sales tax revenue "for the general fund," said Kate Vernez, assistant city manager, and "YY is only advisory."

90 percent of Santa Monica's voters can vote for the measure, but, "if it passes, the city council will decide if the funds should go to education," said Vernez. And in particular, Vernez, specified "the general education fund."

The general education fund does not include only The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and Santa Monica's Community Colleges. Money designated for the general education fund can potentially go to anything related to education. For example "after-school," said Vernez, is a part of the education fund.

Nobody on the city council has to make any financial commitment to education with Y's tax revenues should it pass. So, while the Santa Monica College Board's unanimous support of measures Y and YY may seem like a victory for students, the passing of both measures does not necessarily mean any additional money for Santa Monica College.

Patricia Hoffman, co-chair of Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights, said, "Measure Y is just an increased sales tax to pay for general city services, not specifically law enforcement or emergency services, just any kind of city service you can think of."

Hoffman continued, "it would not necessarily be split between education and city services," even if the council does allow some of Measure Y's funds to go the General Education Fund.

"Measure Y is simply a way of "keeping local revenues local," said Vernez, who said that anyone wishing to know where their tax dollars are going should "participate in the ‘Can We Talk?' budget hearings" which will next take place over a three month period beginning this November.

No school, individual, or group will know where the extra $12 million in sales tax is going until after Santa Monica's city council decides how it is appropriated.