Entertainment Tax Measure Added to Ballot in Pacific Grove

The Pacific Grove City Council last week voted 4-3 to add a 5 percent entertainment admissions tax measure to the November ballot.

The tax would be imposed on a variety of events, activities and locations within the city, including admission to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It also would be imposed on people going to the movies, watching sporting events, enjoying rounds of golf at municipal golf courses, visiting museums, and participating in other activities, including half-marathons.

Proponents of the tax said the revenue would be used to offset the impact that tourists have on the city. The revenue would pay for street, trail and sidewalk maintenance, as well as emergency and sanitation services.

Prior to the vote, the City Council faced vehement opposition from the public, with only one speaker in favor of the tax, and many speakers – including representatives of nonprofit organizations that would be affected by the tax – speaking against it.

City Manager Ben Harvey told the council that the tax could generate more than $4 million annually for the city. A substantial portion of that revenue would come from the aquarium, which draws more than 1.5 million visitors every year. A 5 percent tax on a $50 adult admission to the aquarium would add $2.50 to the total price. The tax would add $1.50 to the $30 admission price for children.

The council also voted against pursuing a ballot measure to raise the minimum business license tax from $15 to $30, eliminate the $3,000 cap on the existing tax, and increase the rate from 0.10 percent to 0.15 percent of gross revenue. (Source: Carmel Pine Cone, July 22.)

August 1, 2016

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