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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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City of Riverside
Measure Z - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results


55,496 votes yes (59.64%)

37,555 votes no (40.36%)

100% of precincts reporting (85/85).

93,051 ballots counted.

To prevent cutting police, firefighters, paramedics, 911 emergency response, antigang/drug programs, homelessness reduction and youth after-school/senior/disabled services; to repair local streets/potholes/infrastructure; and to provide other general services, shall a one-cent transaction and use tax (sales tax) be implemented providing $48,000,000 annually through 2036 unless extended by the voters, requiring independent audits with no funds to Sacramento, all funds remaining for Riverside?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Riverside City Attorney

Measure Z is a ballot measure that, if approved by a majority of voters, would amend the Riverside Municipal Code to enact an increase of one percent (1%) to the transactions and use tax. The Measure, placed on the ballot by the City Council, is a “general” tax, which means that the City of Riverside may use the tax revenues for any governmental purpose (for example, repairs of streets, potholes, and infrastructure, as well as maintaining the City’s long-term financial stability).

Although Measure Z is entitled “transactions and use tax” it is commonly referred to as a sales tax. With some exceptions, transactions and use tax is levied on the sale or use of tangible personal property sold at retail. Retailers collect the tax at the time of sale and remit the funds to the State Board of Equalization, which administers the tax, including transmitting payment to the City.

Currently, the total retail sales tax in Riverside City is 8% of the purchase price. The revenue generated by this tax is allocated to the State, Riverside County, and the City. Of the 8%, the State receives 6.25%, the County of Riverside receives .75% and the City receives 1%.

All of the proceeds of the tax increase proposed in Measure Z would go only to the City to be placed into the general fund, and would not go to the State or County.

A “yes” vote is a vote to approve a one percent (1%) increase in transactions and use tax.

A “no” vote is a vote against the increase in transactions and use tax.

If approved, the transaction and use tax increase will take effect on April 1, 2017 through 2036 unless extended by the voters. The City will begin receiving revenues in July, 2017.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure Z. For more information, please visit the City’s website at or contact the City Clerk at 951-826-5557.

By:    Gary G. Geuss
         City Attorney

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Vital city services in Riverside have suffered as a result of the Great Recession. Public safety has been cut, youth and after-school programs have been reduced, and our homeless problem is getting worse. As budget reductions continue to take their toll, our police department has fewer officers and fire department and emergency response times have been compromised. 

It’s time to restore public safety and vital services for Riverside. Measure Z will provide the funding needed for essential public safety services while helping us take care of the basics – like filling potholes and repairing sidewalks. It will prevent further cuts to police protection, paramedic services and programs that fight gangs and drugs. 

Riverside is a great place to live and raise a family. We cannot afford to keep cutting vital services. It’s time to protect our future. Measure Z will generate $48 million per year for Riverside to provide police and fire protection, paramedics and 9-1-1 emergency response. In addition, Measure Z will provide the resources to take care of the basics like street repairs, tree trimming, libraries, parks, and senior services. 

The homeless problem is getting worse, having reached excessive levels in Riverside, hurting local businesses, public safety, and our quality of life. Measure Z will help get people off the streets and into programs and housing, working to end the cycle of homelessness. Measure Z includes tough accountability, requiring annual independent financial audits and citizen review of expenditures. It ensures that all funds remain in the City of Riverside and cannot be taken away by Sacramento. These strong fiscal safeguards will ensure funds are used efficiently, effectively and for the benefit of Riverside. 

Join Riverside firefighters, police officers, community and business leaders. Vote Yes on Measure Z. 

By:       Rusty Bailey, Mayor, City of Riverside

Timothy David Strack, Fire Captain/President, Riverside Firefighters

Cynthia G. Roth, President/CEO, Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce

Sergio G. Diaz, Chief of Police, Riverside Police Department 

Rose M. Mayes, Executive Director, Fair Housing Council of Riv. Cnty

— Riverside County Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

Vote NO on Measure Z, the biggest tax increase in Riverside’s history.

Measure Z costs taxpayers $1 BILLION DOLLARS over 20 years.

It’s not the tiny “one-cent” or penny increase described by the ballot. It’s actually ONE PERCENT (1%), as the City Attorney’s Analysis clarifies.

The sales tax goes from 8 to 9 percent, raising at least $48 million annually. City Hall gets a huge revenue surplus to spend any way it wants.

The City Council approved pay raises without sufficient funds, causing 
a deficit in the $267 million budget.

Measure Z raises FIVE times what is needed to balance the budget.
Taxpayers deserve fiscal responsibility.

Measure Z is UNFAIR: 

  • Riverside households have not recovered income lost in the recession. Savings accounts earn less than 1%; seniors’ Social Security is not increasing.
  • We’ll pay $250 more in taxes to buy a $25,000 car.
  • The tax burdens our children and grandchildren. 

Personnel costs make up almost three-quarters of the budget. City employees receive generous pay (with annual “step” increases), benefits, and pensions. City pensions average $71,811 (police and fire are at $108,173).


• City revenues are increasing rapidly, including those from the current Sales Tax and Property Tax. A 6½% Utility User’s Tax is also on our electricity, water, natural gas, phones, and cable TV bills.

Unlike other cities, Riverside has a big extra source of annual revenue: $45 million in “profit” from electric and water rates was transferred from our utility to City Hall this year. That’s on top of Utility User’s Tax revenues. 

Belt tightening is needed; not a tax increase.
Don’t be tricked by Measure Z backers’ scare tactics and doomsday predictions.

VOTE NO on Measure Z. For information call (951) 780-4749; look for NO on City of Riverside Measure Z on Facebook.

By:       Paul Sundeen, Retired, Chief Financial Officer, City of Riverside

Dr. Sharon B. Mateja, Riverside Homeowner and Taxpayer

Kevin Dawson, Riverside Homeowner and Taxpayer

Susana Hernandez, Retired, Alvord Unified School District 

Bob Buster, Riverside native, former Councilmember

— Riverside County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments FOR

The City of Riverside’s Measure Z is a general tax that can be used for any purpose. The “Public Safety” title is very misleading. There is no legal requirement that fire and police get one penny! 

Taxes from Measure Z can be spent for “any governmental purpose” including:

       Raising city salaries and benefits. Increasing revenues from Measure Z may result in automatic salary increases.

       Building big, costly projects by borrowing against Measure Z. Riverside’s mayor, council and city manager say a city jail, new city hall, new main library, and convention center expansion are needed. 

There’s also no guarantee that Measure Z revenues will be used to reduce homelessness, fill potholes or fix any other problem. 

Riverside taxpayers are providing enough revenue already. City revenue is at an all-time high. In the last six years, the city’s four main revenue sources have increased an average of 4% annually, two and a half times faster than inflation. Steady revenue increases are forecast for years. 

Riverside voters have shown their support for better city services by approving extra taxes for specific purposes like new fire stations and library operations. 

Unfortunately, many family incomes in Riverside have not recovered from the recession. Measure Z is the largest tax increase in city history.
It goes too far. 

Vote NO to send a loud and clear message to City Hall that you want vital services protected and overspending stopped. The city must live within its means. 

Keep your taxes from being diverted for other purposes. 

Vote NO on the City of Riverside’s Measure Z. 

By:       Grover Trask, Former Riverside County District Attorney

Dr. Sharon Mateja, Riverside Home owner & Tax payer

Paul C Sundeen, Retired Asst City Mgr/CFO Chief Financial Officer

Susana Hernandez, Retiree–Alvord School District 

Bob Buster, Riverside native, ex Councilmember

— Riverside County Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

Measure Z was put on the ballot by the Mayor and City Council to protect public safety and vital city services. Measure Z is supported by Riverside’s firefighters, police officers, local businesses and community organizations.

Here is what Measure Z actually does. It will generate $48 million per year for Riverside to restore public safety and essential services. Measure Z will help address our homeless problem, providing needed funding to get people off the streets and into programs and housing. It will prevent future cuts to police protection, paramedic services and programs that fight gangs and drugs.

The opponents are right when they say taxpayers deserve fiscal accountability. That’s why Measure Z was written to require strict accountability, with independent financial audits and citizen review. It ensures that all Measure Z money stays in Riverside, with no funds going to Sacramento. Measure Z was written to “sunset,” meaning it will expire unless a vote of the people keeps it in place.

The Great Recession hit Riverside hard, resulting in cuts to public safety, youth and after-school programs. Measure Z provides the funding to restore vital services and to take care of the basics – like filling potholes, repairing sidewalks, trimming trees, protecting libraries, maintaining parks and providing senior services.

Measure Z will prevent further cuts to public safety and restore vital services for Riverside.

By:     Ronald O. Loveridge, Former Mayor–City of Riverside

          Brian C Smith, President, Riverside Police Officers’ Assoc

          Ramon Alvarez, President, Alvarez Lincoln Jaguar

          Damien O Farrell, CEO, Path of Life Ministries Homeless Services

          Michael Moore, Fire Chief, Fire Dept

— Riverside County Registrar of Voters
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