Over $1Million Dollars Every 90 Days Paid to West Hollywood from Billboard Tax
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Nov. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Monday, November 15, at 6 P.M. in a closed session, West Hollywood City Council Members may take the side of the Billboard Companies and not let the People vote on Taxing Billboards and Supergraphics. They are considering fighting the Tax Billboard Act in court in the closed session with the City Attorney before the public council meeting. The decision to fight the “Tax Billboard Act”, which thousands of voters signed to qualify for the March 2011 ballot, will cost the city hundreds of thousands to fight in court and potentially take away the peoples right to vote on this ballot measure.
The West Hollywood City Attorney has not addressed to the city council the possibility of a city generated law suit resulting in an anti-slapp motion. An anti-slapp motion exposes the city to not only its legal fees to bring the suit but all defense costs if the anti-slapp motion is granted which could cost the city over $250,000. plus. An anti-slapp motion is designed to protect free speech rights. Pre-election challenges are not favored by the courts. Judges prefer that citizens vote first before legal challenges. The Billboard Companies have everything to gain by the City litigating this issue and the city and people have potentially a lot to lose. The Billboard Companies should be the ones to challenge the Tax on Billboards, not the city.
Voters have asked why would the City Council members take the side of the Billboard Companies and not let the people vote on Taxing Billboards & Supergraphics? If there are any legal issues concerning the Tax on Billboards…let the Billboard Companies pay for the litigation not the people of West Hollywood. The citizens have also brought up that Philadelphia has Taxed billboards since 2005 and the Billboard Companies lost their challenge in court against the Billboard Tax. The “Tax Billboard Act” does NOT allow for any new Billboards in the City of West Hollywood.
The City of Los Angeles will have a similar Tax on Billboards on their March 2011 ballot, based on the Philadelphia Billboard Tax Act. The billboard tax proposed in Los Angeles is 12% and will also generate millions of needed revenue for the City of Los Angeles. If approved, the billboard tax would generate over $24 million annually for the city’s general fund, which would benefit the citizens and public projects. Both Tax Billboard Initiatives, said City officials, have modeled the ballot proposal on a billboard tax approved in 2005 in Philadelphia, which Major Billboard Companies challenged in court and lost.
The Majority of West Hollywood Voters want to Tax Billboards in their city. In a recent Sunset Strip survey, 86% of 500 likely voters stated they support the Taxing of Billboards and Supergraphics in West Hollywood. With 86% of the surveyed voters supporting a tax on billboards and thousands of the voters in West Hollywood signing the petition for Taxing Billboards & Supergraphics, many voters are asking why would the City Council members take the side of the Billboard Companies and not let the people vote on Taxing Billboards & Supergraphics? The City Council should respect the right of the people to express and voice their opinions concerning their city and the fairness to have a say in their government.
SOURCE Sunset Strip, Inc.