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Desert Hot Springs voters reject sales tax increase

In Desert Hot Springs, voters approved two tax measures involving medical marijuana. Measure HH will tax marijuana growers based on the size of their grow buildings. Measure II will pose a 10 percent tax on marijuana sales in the city.

However, 55 percent of voters rejected Measure JJ. The measure would’ve increased the sales tax by 1 percent, from 8 percent to 9 percent. If it had passed it could have brought $1.4 million in revenue, money that the city’s general fund desperately needs.

Now city leaders have to come up with new option, which usually means more budget cuts.

City councilman Joe McKee said they’ve already cut $6 million this year to public safety, city programs and employee salaries to avoid bankruptcy. So where will they trim from now?

“There are all sorts of things we’re going to have to look at. We fund a lot of organizations. We fund the senior center, we fund hoteliers, the Chamber of Commerce and Animal Control,” said McKee. “This is going to be a painful situation.”

“Now the city has to go back and cut people and cut jobs. What is one percent? This city deserves more than the people are giving it credit for,” said Stephanie Ross, whose husband owns Dr. Paul Ross Chiropractor on Pierson Boulevard.

McKee said the city will continue to depend on volunteers to help continue some of its services and deeper cuts to the budget are something it’s been preparing for.

“I want ensure the city, we will survive. It’s not going to be pretty in a lot of ways. We’ll work through this,” said McKee.

KESQ News Team

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