Read what local newspapers say about the proposed 2022 Santa Monica transfer tax.


-- The Santa Monica Observer

"Analysis-free agenda-driven shifting of property use.."

-- The Santa Monica Mirror

"...poorly structured and terribly unfair..."

-- The Santa Monica Daily Press

"...a bait and switch..."

-- The Santa Monica Outlook

(The Santa Monica Coalition is not connected with Santa Monica Coalition For a Liveable City)

There are signature gatherers throughout Santa Monica, right now, aiming to get a new transfer tax on the fall 2022 ballot. Don't sign it.

The measure is described here:

Santa Monica Daily press letter

And here

Santa Monica Mirror article (part 1)

Santa Monica Mirror article (part2)

and here

Santa Monica Daily Press letter

and here

Santa Monica Observer article

And here:

Santa Monica Outlook article

(There are more articles on the "resources " page of this website.)

Who we are:

We are a grassroots volunteer group of city residents - both renters and owners of modest homes. We are not affiliated with or supported by any businesses or other policital groups.

We, ourselves, will not be directly subject to this tax. But we will be catastrophically affected by the harm the tax will cause to our city, it's services and our quality of life - with the supposed benefits of the tax being almost entirely provided to non-residents.

Incredibly damaging:

This transfer tax will have the guaranteed side effect of causing regular city property taxes to collapse (click on the "More on tax consequences" link above). This will destroy the quality of general services from the city (schools, police, fire libraries etc).

This tax almost entirely mis-targets one issue, reducing revenues for other, more important issues (safety, schools, environment etc)

There is a thin slice of schools money in the tax, but that is purely to help get the ballot signatures, not because they care at all about schools.

The new (non-property-tax-paying) buildings this transfer tax will pay for will bring in more students from outside the city than the thin slice of transfer tax will support, leading to less per-child money for SM schools than before. This ballot measure means SM schools will in reality be worse off.

Half-truths and deception:

The campaign literature put out by the sponsors of the petition is a litany of repurposed, irrelevant pseudo-data.

For example they claim as justification that "California schools...ranked bottom in per pupil funding..."

But Santa Monica schools are incredibly well funded, with billion dollar bond funds and huge chunks of sales and property taxes. Santa Monica schools do not have a funding problem.

And even if Santa Monica schools did need more funding, this ballot will actually do the opposite, and reduce per-child funding.

The headline plea of "Sign for Schools" is a blatant and misleading exploitation of residents sympathies.

How you can help:

Please forward this web-page to everyone you know, and add it to your facebook pages and twitter feeds.

If you see signature gatherers on the street, ask them why they are doing the paid political activism of the rich and powerful, that will leave the city broke and broken. Ask them if they live in Santa Monica, or have any idea what this petition will actually do to the city.

It is almost certain that traditional Santa Monica property taxes, that fund almost everything the city does for us, will collapse as a result of this transfer tax. This will substantially degrade city services that current residents depend on (Schools, police, fire, libraries etc)

This property tax collapse will be caused by delayed home sales delaying property tax basis repricing, and replacing tax paying buildings with (non property tax paying) affordable housing.

It is expected the new transfer tax revenue will pay for large numbers of substantial buildings -- built on almost every street. They will be almost exclusively reserved for the homeless, and non-residents of Santa Monica. (Santa Monica rent control tenants are not eligable to apply for this new housing.)

Thus there will be substantial degredation in the quality of life of residents, regarding construction noise, overshadowing and parking,

The new transfer tax is claimed to target a small, wealthy, section of the population in order to help the poor. However it is likely that the wealthy will evade the tax, leaving the middle class and poor to both pay for and suffer from the negative consequences of this tax.

The tax is not adjusted for inflation and in very few years will affect practically all homes in the city, even the most modest.

The wealthy who are initially targetted by this tax are extremely financially sophisticated, and will structure thier house sales to avoid this tax. This may lead to the tax generating less revenue than expected. There will then be unstoppable political pressure to further lower the tax threshold to impact lower priced homes, and less financially sophisticated owners who would be less able to avoid the tax.

It is expected there will be multi-years-long construction city-wide, and many existing homes will become overshadowed. It is absolutely certain the buildings will provide almost no parking, so street parking will become very difficult or, most likely, impossible.

(Most new apartment buildings currently planned and actually being built already have sub-standard to zero parking.)

There is a small amount of the tax assigned for schools. It is believed that this was added to the petition to ease its passage via the electorate. Though in reality the amounts of school tax revenue raised will be inadequate to meet the increase in student enrolment expected from the additional housing created.

The assignement of a small amount of tax to schools does seem to allow the signature gatherers to proclaim it is "for schools", without highlighting that the marjority of the tax is for housing - which would suggest underhandedness on the part of the sponsors.

With so many problematic motivations and negative consequences it seems astonishing that the residents of Santa Monica would consider such a tax. However the sponsors willingness to finance the paid signature gatherers etc, does imply they have confidence in thier ability to persuade the population to accept a tax which is contrary to thier own self interest.

Finally, allowing a politically selected group of eleven residents to manage the (astronomical) tax will likely lead to favouritsm, patronage and cronyism in postings to the committee and allocation of tax revenues, which will be almost impossible to avoid. It is expected that this management board will become a political fiefdom with a long life expectancy and considerable leverage over commercial activities and political fundraising via affected industries (in particular construction and the management of the affordable buildings). These industries already have overwhelming influence on city council decisions due to campaign contributions &etc. Leading to the current situation of the regulatory capture of the council by favoured industries and the shutting out of residents from the decision process.

This tax will magnify and perpetuate our city council's dismissal of existing residents' quality of life and welfare.