Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA City Council votes to place sales tax increase on March 2013 ballot

City Councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr.

Andres Aguila/KPCC

A sales tax increase backed by Council President Herb Wesson was approved for the March 2013 ballot in a vote of 11-4.

A sales tax increase that could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the City of Los Angeles will appear on the March 2013 ballot.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 11-4 Tuesday to place the tax measure on the March 5 ballot. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he will return the measure to the council without his signature, which will allow the measure to appear on the ballot. 

Council President Herb Wesson proposed the tax increase, saying it could bring in $215 million a year for basic city services. Los Angeles is expected to start the next fiscal year in July with a $216 million deficit. 

Villaraigosa released a statement that said:  "I will not ask the people of Los Angeles to support higher taxes until the City Council makes progress on a set of new reforms that will make us more efficient, accountable and competitive. We must tie new revenue to new reforms.” 

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Sales tax increase could appear on Los Angeles' March 2013 ballot

General Election - Grant

Grant Slater/KPCC

A proposal to increase the city of Los Angeles' sales tax could appear on the March 2013 ballot. The Los Angeles City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday, and a second vote is expected next week.

A proposal to increase the City of Los Angeles’ sales tax by a half-cent was preliminarily approved for the March 2013 ballot Tuesday in a 10-4 vote of the Los Angeles City Council.

The sales tax proposal will need a second approval next week – with at least 10 votes – to appear on the March 5th ballot. Because voters approved Proposition 30, the sales tax is already increasing to 9 percent on Jan. 1. If the city's measure gets on the ballot and passes, the sales tax would increase to 9.5 percent. 

Two of the dissenting council members — Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti — are also mayoral hopefuls whose names could appear alongside the proposed tax in March.  Also voting against the tax were councilmen Dennis Zine and Mitch Englander.

“We’ve got to be able to demonstrate that we’ve exhausted all of our resources,  that we’ve turned over every stone," Englander said. "That we’ve gone down and cut not only the fat and the bone and muscle as some people are suggesting but we’ve actually gotten rid of all of the other additional things we shouldn’t be doing — all of the other additional layers." 

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LA City Council on Tuesday considers putting sales tax increase on March 2013 ballot

City Councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr.

Andres Aguila/KPCC

A sales tax increase backed by Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson was approved Friday by a committee. It could appear on the city's March 2013 ballot.

A proposal to increase the city of Los Angeles’ sales tax in an effort to close a fiscal deficit was one step closer Friday to making it onto the March 2013 ballot.

Members of the Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee unanimously agreed to ask Los Angeles voters to increase the city’s sales tax from 8.75 percent to 9.25 percent. If the rate is increased, city officials say it would generate between $208 million and $215 million a year for the city’s General Fund, and it would put Los Angeles on par with Santa Monica. The city's deficit for the next fiscal year is expected to be $216 million. 

“It nets us the most amount of money," said L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson. "If you look at what happened Tuesday night, out of 36 elections statewide, 29 of them were successful where it related to an increase in the sales tax." 

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