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Protests For and Against Palm Springs Tax Hike

Angela Monroe

Protests For and Against Palm Springs Tax Hike

CREATED Oct. 19, 2011

A face-off Wednesday night in Palm Springs between those for and against a measure that would increase the sales tax to help revamp downtown.
Measure J took center stage at the Palm Springs city council meeting.
It is a sensitive issue for those for and against Measure J.
Even the police were called out to help keep the crowd under control.

One side chanted, "Yes on J, yes on J"
While the other side shouted back, "Stop the regressive tax, stop the regressive tax."
The debate is heating up over Measure J.

The proposed one percent sales tax hike is also increasing some protester's tempers.
The tax would last 25 years and raise about 200 million dollars.  About 43 million bucks expected to go to help developer John Wessman rebuild the Desert Fashion Plaza.
No on J protesters say that's not the way to go.
"I love to see all the people here who want to raise taxes on the seniors, on the elderly, on the people with fixed income here in town and give it to John Wessman. This is about greed not need," said Bob Richmond with the Committee for No on Measure J.
Yes on J protesters say this is about more than just the fashion plaza.
"We've been saying all along that this is our town, our investment, our future, we want to rebuild downtown, we want to provide additional funding for our city so they can have money to operate over the next 25 years," said Bob Helbling with the Committee to Support Measure J.

Palm Springs police showed up in force with about 20 officers to keep protester's tempers cool.
"We're just here to keep the peace between the opposing sides, just people feel very strongly about their political beliefs and we want to make sure everyone has the first amendment right to express their views," said Acting Captain Dennis Graham with the Palm Springs Police Department.

But the tax fight stayed civil.
City council did approve creating an oversight committee to see how Measure J money would be spent.
But No on J protesters said there should be an oversight committee for the entire budget.
Still, whether folks were no on J or yes on J, it will be up to the voters to decide which way to go in November.
As we near the November 8th election, KMIR6 will continue to bring you the latest on the debate.