Measure K Sales Tax - November 3, 2020 Election

Measure K Sales Tax - November 3, 2020 Election, LogoDuring the November 2020 General Municipal Election, Carson residents will be able to vote on Measure K: the proposed three-quarters-cent (or 0.75%) local transactions and use tax ("sales tax"). If passed by Carson voters, Measure K would generate approximately $12 million annually to help Carson address important community needs.

Before you vote in the election, please learn more about Measure K on this webpage.


About Measure K
  • On August 4, 2020, the Carson City Council adopted a resolution calling for the placement of a 0.75%, or three-quarters-cent, Transactions and Use Tax (Sales Tax) on the November 2020 ballot.
  • Measure K is a "general tax", not a "special tax." The revenues collected could be used to restore, protect and/or enhance any valid municipal purpose, such as public safety, street maintenance, building maintenance, transportation, parks and community services' programs.
  • If voters approve Measure K, revenues will go to the City's General Fund to fund City services and programs for its residents instead of other taxing jurisdictions like the County of Los Angeles.
    • The transactions and use general tax proposed by Measure K would take effect only if it receives a majority "YES" vote at the November 3, 2020, general municipal election.
    • If approved, Measure K would begin in January 2021.

City Finances
  • Sales tax is the City of Carson's primary revenue source: approximately 25% of total General Fund resources.
  • The proposed budget for FY 2020-21 reflects $2.2 million in decreased revenue: approximately 4% of General Fund revenues.
    • To help reduce the General Fund budget deficit, Carson has already taken action, including:
      • Non-personnel budget reductions across eight City departments
      • A limited hiring freeze
      • Leaving vacant positions open
  • We have not yet seen the full economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can view an April 2020 preliminary economic forecast of the COVID-19 fiscal impact on the City of Carson's website. NOTE: the City's financial situation has continued to change since the creation of the report.
  • The City is also trying to address unfunded needs, including:
    • $39 million in unfunded Capital Improvement Program (CIP) projects
    • $11.5 million in sidewalk improvement projects
    • Over $100 million in other high-priority projects
How Sales Tax Works
  • The combined sales tax rate in the City of Carson is currently 9.5%. The City receives 1% out of that 9.5%; the rest goes to the County and State.
  • If voters approve Measure K, the additional 0.75% sales tax would bring the sales tax rate in the city to 10.25%, which is the same sales tax collected by dozens of other Los Angeles County cities. The City of Carson would then receive 1.75% out of that 10.25%.
  • It is estimated that Measure K could generate approximately $12 million per year for the funding of general City services (until ended by voters), such as:
    • Public safety, natural disaster/public health emergency preparedness
    • 9-1-1 emergency response
    • Street/pothole/sidewalk repair
    • Local drinking water/environment protection
    • Local small business assistance/job retention
  • The three-quarters-cent (0.75%) sales tax applies only to goods and services within Carson, such as bars, restaurants, gasoline, and retail stores like clothing stores. It does not apply to most groceries or the services of a doctor, dentist or attorney. Read this resource from The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) for full details about sales tax exemptions and exclusions.
  • Based on a "2017 Retail Recruitment & Retention Solution" presentation by Buxton to the Carson Reclamation Authority, approximately 89% of Carson's retail sales tax is paid by non-residents and visitors to Carson.
Community Needs
  • If approved by a majority of voters, Measure K would allow the City to meet community needs. Per a recent community survey, some of these needs are:
    • Maintaining 911 emergency response
    • Repairing local streets and potholes
    • Sidewalk repair
    • Protecting local drinking water
    • Maintaining public safety
    • Maintaining public health emergency preparedness
    • Retaining local small businesses and jobs
    • Cleaning up contaminated soil and groundwater from toxic chemical runoff
    • Keeping public areas clean and safe
  • Revenue from Measure K could also allow the City of Carson to maintain unique services and programs started in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as:
    • Free COVID-19 testing
    • Funding for grants and loans to local small businesses
    • Emergency rental assistance
    • Anti-gang and anti-drug prevention programs for at-risk youth and their families
    • After-school programs to prevent students from dropping out
    • Senior food(grocery essentials and free lunch) programs
  • Measure K includes accountability requirements to show how the tax is collected, managed and expended.
For more information about Measure K:
City Manager's Office
(310) 952-1730
For more information about the City Council election:
Visit the Election Information webpage or contact the City Clerk's Office:
(310) 952-1720

Llame a la Ciudad al 310-830-7600 si necesita información en español.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a transactions and use (sales) tax?
Transactions and use (or "sales") tax applies to certain goods and services such as bars, restaurants, gasoline, and retail stores like clothing stores. It does not apply to most groceries or the services of a doctor, dentist or attorney. Read this resource from The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) for full details about sales tax exemptions and exclusions. State law provides exemptions to the sales tax, including: resale, interstate sales, intangibles, food for home consumption, candy, bottled water, natural gas, electricity and water delivered through pipes, prescription medicines, and sales to the federal government.

What is Carson's current sales tax rate?
The combined sales tax rate in the City of Carson is currently 9.5%. The City receives 1% out of that 9.5%; the rest goes to the County and State.

How would Measure K change Carson's sales tax rate?
If voters approve Measure K, the additional 0.75% sales tax would bring the sales tax rate in the city to 10.25%, which is the same sales tax collected by dozens of other Los Angeles County cities. The City of Carson would then receive 1.75% out of that 10.25%.

How will Measure K appear on the November 2020 ballot?
"CARSON ESSENTIAL CITY SERVICES, EMERGENCY RESPONSE PROTECTION MEASURE. To maintain City services, such as public safety, natural disaster/public health emergency preparedness; 9-1-1 emergency response, protect local drinking water/environment; assist local small businesses/retain jobs; repair streets/potholes; and other general City services, shall the measure establishing a 3/4-cent general transaction and use (sales) tax providing Carson with approximately $12,000,000 annually until ended by voters, requiring public spending disclosure, all funds for Carson, be adopted?"

Is Measure K a general tax or a special tax?
Measure K is a "general tax," not a "special tax." Since this is a general tax, a simple majority voter approval ("50 percent plus one") is required to pass the sales tax measure. The transactions and use general tax proposed by Measure K would take effect only if it receives a majority "YES" vote at the November 3, 2020, general municipal election.

How could the City use revenue from Measure K?
Every penny of revenue from Measure K is legally required to stay local and would go to Carson's General Fund, which could be used for any valid municipal purpose. This will prevent other jurisdictions from using the 0.75%, and ensure that those funds are provided to the City and its residents. Fiscal safeguards are in place to show how the tax is collected, managed, and expended. It is estimated that Measure K could generate approximately $12 million for the funding of general City services (until ended by voters), such as:
  • Public safety, natural disaster/public health emergency preparedness
  • 9-1-1 emergency response
  • Street/pothole/sidewalk repair
  • Local drinking water/environment protection
  • Local small business assistance/job retention

If Measure K passes, when would it go into effect?
If approved, Measure K would begin in January 2021.

Documents and Election Information
The following are official documents related to Measure K. Each can be viewed/downloaded as a PDF for your convenience. To vote on Measure K in the City of Carson, you need to register to vote by the October 19, 2020 deadline:

City Hall Contact

701 E Carson Street
Carson, CA 90745
(310) 830-7600, 7 AM - 6 PM
Monday - Thursday
24-hour automated: (310) 952-1700

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