Santa Monica Strong – Yes on SM

Frequently Asked Questions


Why should I vote YES on Measure SM? 

Measure SM is an essential local funding measure on the November 3, 2020 ballot to provide critical funds to support Santa Monica’s economic recovery and keep our city safe and strong. Voting YES on Measure SM is a vote to provide locally controlled funding to:

  • Maintain clean beaches and parks 

  • Protect 911 emergency response services

  • Fund economic recovery efforts, including helping businesses to re-open safely

  • Restore library programs

  • Continue programs and services proven to reduce homelessness

  • Support rental assistance programs for local seniors and other to keep them in their homes

  • Fund Meals on Wheels and the Westside Food Bank

  • Restore after-school programs and mental health services for Santa Monica youth


What is Measure SM and why is it essential for our community? 

The City of Santa Monica is a vibrant community, a desirable place to live, raise a family, do business and enjoy the natural beauty of our coastline. The impact of the Coronavirus and economic downturn has created serious challenges. Budget deficits tied to decreased tourism due to the stay-at-home order have resulted in devastating budget cuts, lost jobs for our local workers, and a fewer resources for important community services. 

If approved by voters, Measure SM will generate locally-controlled, critically needed funding by increasing the real estate transfer tax on property sales of $5 million or more. 


Who would pay under Measure SM?

The only ones impacted by Measure SM will be luxury property owners and corporations selling or buying properties worth $5 million or more. Only 10% of all parcels sold in Santa Monica are valued at $5 million or higher. Technically referred to as a “documentary transfer tax,” it is a one-time assessment on real estate sales collected whenever a property is sold. The City of Santa Monica transfer tax rate is $3 per $1,000 of sales value, lower than rates in the City of LA and other cities. Measure SM authorizes an increase on the existing real estate transfer tax by $3 per $1,000 of sales value on future property sale transactions of $5 million or more. On a $5 million property sale, for example, the real estate transfer tax would increase by $15K. Property sales under $5 million would not be impacted.

Now, when our community is working to support each other through crisis, it’s reasonable that those real estate corporations – who’ve profited enormously from Santa Monica’s high quality of life and all of the City-funded services that make it so – pay their fair share to keep our city strong.


Who will benefit from Measure SM?

All residents will benefit from Measure SM, because it will provide funding necessary for essential city services, restore programs that have been cut, and strengthen our city. In addition, Measure SM will help support some of our most vulnerable citizens, including renters, people living with homelessness, families struggling with uncertain employment, housebound senior citizens and those struggling with mental health issues.


How can help pass Measure SM?

Please click 'Get Involved' at the top of this page to endorse, donate or get involved with our grassroots volunteer campaign!


Will Measure SM funds stay in Santa Monica?

Yes. 100% of funds generated by Measure SM will remain in Santa Monica and cannot be taken by the County or State government. Measure SM funds will be used only to benefit local residents and services. 


Do other cities have these types of tiered rates on real estate transfer taxes?

Yes. Cities in Northern California (Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco) have implemented tiered rates based on sales value.  


How can I vote YES on SM?

Whether or not you typically vote at the polls, all registered voters in Santa Monica will receive a ballot in the mail the week of October 5. Keep an eye out for your ballot, vote YES on SM, sign and seal the envelope and mail it back right away. No postage is required. There will also be ballot drop boxes throughout the County starting the week you receive your ballot. More information about voting is available at 


How many votes does Measure SM need to pass?

Measure SM must be supported by a majority of those who vote on it (50% + 1) in order to pass.


How can I register to vote or check my voter registration status?

If you are unsure if you are registered to vote or would like to register, please contact the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters at


“Santa Monica Strong – Yes on SM, FPPC ID#1430781.”