Sales tax will go to voters

RESIDENTS of Westminster will get the chance to vote on Nov. 8 in the general election whether to renew the Measure SS 1 percent sales tax (Shutterstock).

By Jim Tortolano/Orange County Tribune

In a reversal of the deadlock from the marathon meeting that extended from Wednesday evening to early Thursday morning, the Westminster City Council on Friday afternoon voted to place before voters on Nov. 8 the extension of Measure SS one-percent sales tax.

Those voting in favor were Mayor Tri Ta, Vice Mayor Carlos Manzo and Councilmembers Kimberly Ho and Chi Charlie Nguyen.

Councilmember Tai Do abstained.

If approved by voters, the extension would run for 20 years and expire – unless again extended by voters – on March 31, 2043.

The estimated annual revenue to the city would be $16 million.

At the previous meeting, Ta, Nguyen and Do voted to abstain, while Manzo and Ho voted in favor of an extension. But the meeting was adjourned to Friday at 11 a.m. giving councilmembers a chance to reconsider.

After hearing hours of public comments, all urging placing the Measure SS extension on the ballot, Ta and Nguyen voted in favor Friday afternoon.

Ta said, “I still oppose any tax increase, but I respect the community. I honor one’s right to vote to decide the future of our community.”

Before casting his vote, Nguyen said, “I had the chance to talk to a lot of people and came up with the decision to vote yes.”

The expiration of the sales tax approved by voters – with a six-year sunset clause – in 2016 threatened a severe financial crisis for Westminster and possible municipal bankruptcy, a theme echoed by many who spoke on Friday. 

Resident Terry Rains slammed Ta, Nguyen and Do, and directed the strongest criticism at Do.

“I am the most disappointed in you,” she said. She said that he had lost many supporters, including herself, for what she called his “asinine, obstinate and unjustifiable refusal to let us vote on this.”

She vowed that there would be a political backlash against Ta, Do and Nguyen who are running for higher office in the Nov. 8 general election if they didn’t change their stances on the issue.

“There will be hell to pay,” she said.

Vincent Tran called refusing to put the matter before voters is like “putting a bag over people’s faces, you cannot talk; you have no voice.”

He added, “What is the legacy you’re leaving?” and said that the end of Measure SS would deprive residents of Westminster of “basic services.”


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