Burbank voters took to the polls on Tuesday with just two local issues on the line: a sales tax increase to help Burbank City services and a school parcel tax that would allow schools to keep some programs.
Measure P, which was named Burbank Infrastructure And Community Services Protection on the ballot would approve an ordinance establishing a 3/4¢ sales tax providing approximately $20,000,000 annually until ended by voters.
It passed by slightly over 60% with 16,039 votes with only 10, 685 opposed.
Measure P will increase the General Fund’s sales tax percentage share from 1.00% to 1.75%, which would use up the remaining sales tax potential of 0.75% and boost the local sales tax rate from 9.50% to the maximum 10.25%.
The General Fund’s sales tax revenues is estimated to increase by an estimated $20 million, from an estimated $34 million to $54 million. The City will use this additional $20 million to meet increased pension liability payments and to fund needed capital improvements within Burbank, including more street repaving.
The extra 0.75% in sales tax will take effect beginning April 1, 2019, and it will continue until ended by the voters. There’s no automatic sunset provision.
Measure QS which would have levied 10 cents per square foot of improved property annually, providing approximately $9,000,000 in annual local funding, actually was supported by a higher percentage than Measure P, but fell just short of its 65 % passage. Yes votes were 16,354, no 10,161, which gave the measure only 61.68%.
A press release was issued on Wednesday by the Burbank Unified School District:
Despite earning the support of almost 62% of voters in Tuesday’s election, Measure QS does not appear to be on track for passage as the County works to finalize its vote count over the next few weeks. Measure QS would have raised over $9 million a year to address the District’s structural deficit, recruit and retain employees, and maintain and expand supports for our students.
While Measure QS did not attain the 66.7% threshold as required by law, we greatly appreciate the support of the nearly 62% of voters who were willing to increase their financial commitment to Burbank’s schools. This was by far the greatest demonstration of public support for Burbank’s schools that the District has ever seen with 16,354 votes and counting.
Over the next few months the District will be scheduling a series of listening sessions to solicit public feedback as the Board and District administration consider the cuts necessary to address the structural deficit of the District. Some of the areas that will be considered for reduction include professional development programs, campus administration and support personnel, elementary music, secondary arts, college and career programs, the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program, and elementary physical education.
While we know we face significant challenges ahead we remain committed to the fight for quality schools in Burbank.
—The Burbank Board of Education and Superintendent Matt Hill