West Hollywood Voters Want to Tax Billboards

It is said that tens of millions of dollars in advertising revenues are received each year by billboard companies from billboards, large screen video displays, tall walls, supergraphics and other off-site signs.

Yet, under the current law, the billboard companies pay virtually no taxes to West Hollywood for the privilege of being allowed to advertise in the city.

In a recent Sunset Strip survey, 86% of 500 likely West Hollywood voters stated they support the Taxing of Billboards and Supergraphics in West Hollywood.

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The Billboard Tax Initiative Qualified for March Ballot 2011 in West Hollywood. The West Hollywood City Council certified the Billboard Tax Initiative and met the state’s election code requirements to be on the March 2011 Ballot.

This initiative would correct this inequity and provide over $4 million dollars of annual revenue for the City to provide added municipal services to the residents of West Hollywood.

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A 7% excise tax on advertising revenues received from the advertisers on billboards and supergraphics in West Hollywood would be paid to the City.

The Tax Billboard Initiative does not allow for any new billboards in the city and will not allow any new tall walls without going through a city approved permit process.

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Currently, only one new tall wall location may be approved and permitted by the Tax Billboard Initiative.

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.

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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.

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 before the public council meeting.

The Sunset Strip statement released Sunday, Nov. 14, said 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, the statement demanded.

More information is at www.TaxBillboardAct.com

RMN News

Rakesh Raman