Carson leaders will ask voters in the Nov. 7 election to impose a gross receipts tax on oil companies to generate another $24 million a year for the cash-starved city.
The City Council, which in recent years has repeatedly targeted industrial businesses — especially oil companies — with tougher regulations and increased fees, voted 5-0 at a special Monday night meeting to put the measure on the ballot and begin an educational campaign for residents. The business license tax would force the industry to pay one-fourth of 1 percent on all their revenue to the city, in addition to the other taxes they pay.
The campaign will focus on how badly the city needs a cash infusion to maintain basic services. “This will be a very robust outreach effort on the part of the city staff,” City Manager Ken Farfsing said.
Pipeline owners Kinder Morgan and Shell Oil would be affected, as well as Tesoro Refining & Marketing Co., which purchased BP’s Carson refinery in 2013 and is now integrating its operations with its adjacent Tesoro Los Angeles Refinery in Wilmington.
Last month, Tesoro agreed to pay $45 million to the city to offset community impacts from construction, including nearly $2 million a year in direct utility-users’ taxes.
Tesoro spokesman Ken Dami said the new tax initiative is discriminatory and that the company “may choose to run a campaign” against the city’s push for more fees.
“We’re an easy target because we can’t pick up our operations and go elsewhere,” Dami said. “We already pay our fair share of taxes.”
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