Editor's Note: This Op-ed piece was written and submitted for publishing by Andrew Perry, Local 1520 President.
Measure M is Artesia’s way of addressing the raids on city funds from the State of California. It will help assure that money raised by this measure will stay with the city, and cannot be touched by the state government. In effect, it gives the people of Artesia local control of their city.
A savvy and responsible citizen might ask, “Okay, having local control sounds good, but how is this going to be paid for?”
The answer being proposed this election is to update the city’s business license fee. The current business license fee has been basically the same for about 20 years, and there are some problems that have arisen because of it not being up to date. All Measure M is going to do is update the business license fees to reflect modern needs.
Currently, some businesses are classified and pay the business license fee, but others do not. This is largely because of antiquated business classifications. Measure M will remove outdated business classifications and add modern ones. The result will be a more fair and inclusive fee for all businesses.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some large businesses have a gigantic impact on the city, but because of the outdated system they only pay a small amount back to the community. For example, some businesses pay $400 in business license fees but their day-to-day activities create millions of dollars of damage to surrounding roadways. Meanwhile, a small business with comparatively little impact pays the same or similar fee. This disparity in fees vs. the impact of the business is also taken into account with Measure M, and the solution is reasonable.
Cities and counties are the level of government where individual citizens have the most control. Local governments are important because they have the most impact on one’s day-to-day life. Local governments provide public safety (i.e. sheriffs and firefighters), fix streets, trim trees, enforce city codes that help maintain property value, and provide programs that benefit the people within their jurisdictions.
Cities are usually the only level of government that regularly balances their budgets. This practice of fiscal responsibility is becoming more difficult because of raids like what the State has already done. The State has taken away $1.5 million dollars from Artesia’s budget and redevelopment funds.
While Measure M is a small fix to a much bigger problem, it is an important start. It is a reasonable measure and only updates an antiquated system. Even the people who will be affected by the measure the most, the Artesia Chamber of Commerce, have endorsed Measure M.