Three semi-trucks driving down a damaged road at sunset.
Perris voters rejected Measure A, a proposal to impose an additional tax on warehouses for road maintenance. (Canva Images)

Perris voters will head to the polls for a special election this November to decide whether to implement a new business license tax on industrial businesses.

“It’s not a tax on our residents, it’s a tax on the light industrial businesses that have the big, large trucks,” Mayor Michael Vargas said during a town hall meeting held last week.

Measure A defines industrial businesses as “businesses that consist primarily of indoor or outdoor storage of large trucks or a business consisting primarily of indoor or outdoor manufacturing activity with large truck activity.”

“We’re not taxing the grocery stores,” Councilmember Michael Corona said, reinforcing Vargas’ point. “We’re not taxing the small businesses. We’re not taxing the local mom and pop shops around there, it’s only the large-scale industrial businesses commonly known as warehouses.”

If approved, the city predicts Measure A would create approximately $4 million in revenue annually that would be earmarked for the improvement, operation, maintenance, repair and restoration of public roads in Perris.

It would do this by levying a special business tax at a rate of 10.7 cents per square foot of space primarily used as a distribution facility or as an industrial business for the next 30 years. The rate would be adjusted annually to remain in line with the consumer price index.

“Over the last several years, there’s been a lot of warehouses that have grown,” Vargas said. “Because of that, we are now receiving a lot of potholes and damages on our roads, and that’s what Measure A is all about.”

According to Deputy City Manager Ernie Reyna, public works repaired 2,760 potholes in fiscal year 21-22. In fiscal year 22-23, Reyna said that number jumped to 3,185.

“That’s administrative time,” he said. “That’s labor, that’s the cost for whatever construction, there’s a lot of stuff that goes along with that.”

Reyna said the city currently spends about $3 million annually to repair roads damaged by truck traffic, money he said could be used elsewhere in the community if Measure A passes in November.

“We want to be able to provide the money back to other places,” he said. “And using $4 million a year [in new Measure A funds] would definitely help to get us there.”

Since Measure A is a special tax election, it requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass. More information about Measure A can be found here on the city’s website.

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