Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Survey: Measure A opposed by nearly half of Los Angeles' likely voters

City Councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr.

Andres Aguila/KPCC

L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson is backing Measure A as the solution to solving the city's anticipated $216 million deficit for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

A proposed half-cent sales tax increase on the March 5 ballot is supported by just a quarter of likely voters, though just about as many people remain undecided on Measure A, according to an ABC 7 survey released Monday.

Of the 509 likely voters surveyed by phone, 46 percent oppose Measure A. The tax increase is supported by 26 percent of respondents and another 28 percent remain uncertain as to how they’ll vote. 

The survey found that among voters between the ages of 50 and 64, 59 percent oppose the tax. Along ethnic and racial lines, 53 percent of both African-Americans and Asian-Americans oppose Measure A. Forty-five percent of white voters oppose the tax and 44 percent of Latino voters oppose it.

City Council President Herb Wesson is backing Measure A as a way to fix the city’s ongoing budget problems. The half-cent increase would make L.A.’s sales tax 9.5 percent beginning in October. In its first year, city officials say the tax increase would generate about $100 million. By the second year, that figure would increase to roughly $200 million.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck have come out in support of the tax. The city’s top budget official, Miguel Santana, has said that without the increase, the police department could lose 200 to 500 officers through attrition and layoffs. If Measure A is approved, the revenue would go into the city’s General Fund; it would not be earmarked for any one purpose.

The leading mayoral candidates oppose Measure A. 

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