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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA June 3, 2008 Election
Measure T
Utility User Tax Ratification and Update
City of Torrance

Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 10,716 / 56.22% Yes votes ...... 8,346 / 43.78% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Jun 25 2:10pm, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting (74/74)
Information shown below: Official Information | Impartial Analysis | Full Text

Shall an ordinance be adopted to ratify and update Torrance’s existing telephone utility users’ tax, to continue to maintain such essential city services as police, fire, street repair, parks, libraries, recreation programs and other services that are presently paid for from the city’s general fund; provided that the present tax rate will not change; low-income seniors and disabled persons will remain exempt; and independent annual audits will be required?

Official Sources of Information
Impartial Analysis from City Attorney John L. Fellows III
Measure T is submitted to the voters by the Torrance City Council to ratify and update the City's existing Utilities Users Tax ("UUT"), so that it can be applied equally to both older telephone technology and to newer telecommunications technology at the current tax rate of 6.5%, while continuing to exempt low-income seniors and disabled persons.


A UUT is a tax levied on each user of a utility within the City's boundaries. Since 1972 the City has imposed a telephone users' tax on persons using telephone service in the City. The tax is based on the telephone user's monthly usage, collected by the telephone provider and conveyed to the City. The current tax rate is 6.5% of the charges billed. Measure T will not increase the tax rate. UUT revenues are paid into the City's general fund to finance such services as police, fire, street repair, parks, libraries and recreation programs.

In past years, the City of Torrance, and most California cities with telephone UUTs, relied on federal law definitions to describe which specific telephone services are covered by the City's UUT. These definitions have been changed by the federal government and no longer reflect the City's original intent.

Since 1972 telephone technology has changed greatly. Telephone companies have introduced cell phone service and many other new services and features. It is expected that telephone companies will continue to develop new forms of telecommunications technology in the future.

Measure T

Measure T would ratify an ordinance previously adopted by the Torrance City Council, which removes references to the federal law definitions from the City's telephone UUT. The measure would also replace older definitions with new definitions that address new technology. The new language treats all telephone customers the same for local tax purposes.

Measure T would not apply to digital downloads, such as books, music, games and similar products, or cable or video television services that are instead subject to State and Federal franchise fees.

Measure T does not increase the current tax rate of 6.5%. The tax applies to all telephone services regardless of the technology used. Voter approval is required for any future tax increase.

Measure T maintains existing exemptions for low-income seniors and disabled persons.

Measure T also requires annual audits to confirm the tax is properly collected and spent by the City according to the requirements of Measure T and other laws. The audit will be performed by a qualified independent third party. The results of these audits will be available to the public.

Measure T requires approval of a majority of voters. A "yes" vote for Measure T will approve the modifications described above and maintain the existing tax. A "no" vote against Measure T will leave in place the City's existing UUT ordinance.

  Official Information

City of Torrance
Local Facts

City Profile
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Full Text of Measure T
Click here for a five-page pdf file.

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Created: July 31, 2008 13:32 PDT
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