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Palm Springs residents split on tax measure to fund first responders

Palm Springs City Leaders Residents...

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - "It's a small price to pay," said Palm Springs resident Mike Tucker, remembering an emergency with first responders coming to help.

"My wife basically had a stroke, an EMT and everybody was on board and she’s basically doing okay now," Tucker said.

The experience is one of the reasons Tucker supports Measure D on the November ballot. City leaders say it's a half-percent sales tax increase, expected to generate about $7 million, helping first responders in the city. 

"Currently, we have the exact same number of firefighters or paramedics, as we did ten years ago but our call volume has gone from 6,000 to 10,000," said Palm Springs City Councilmember Geoff Kors.

Kors said that if passed, the measure would work towards adding six police officers and six firefighters for the city.

Other voters like Mark Owens and Tim Erkins said the measure would be too taxing for residents and visitors.

"It has no end date, that’s a huge problem with me. It goes on forever, we have no end date on that, whatsoever," Erkins said.

"We’ve had increases from Measure J of $12 million a year. and about $15 million a year in TOTs (transient occupancy taxes) the last few years. This money is not needed at this point," Owens said.

Up to two-thirds of the revenue would be paid by tourists.

Kors also added the state or county could not touch what would come from this tax, and that it would all go to Palm Springs services.

The election is set for November 7th. 

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