Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA Area Chamber of Commerce backs sales tax increase

A measure that would increase the City of L.A. sales tax by a half percent was endorsed Thursday by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

The tax increase, if approved, would generate enough money to close next year’s projected $216 million deficit. 

“Public safety will be threatened if Measure A fails. It was a tough decision, but to avoid layoffs of police officers and firemen it was necessary that we support Measure A,” said Gary Toebben, president and CEO of the Chamber.

Usually averse to tax hikes, chamber members supported the measure, in part, because the city has promised to create a Commission on Fiscal Sustainability, Toebben said. 

The Los Angeles City Council agreed to place the measure on the March 5 ballot over the objections of four of its members. Two dissenters will appear on that same ballot as mayoral candidates – Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti. Dennis Zine, who is running for city controller, also voted against the tax. (The fourth vote was Councilman Mitch Englander, who is not up for re-election.)

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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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Labor opposes proposed increase in Los Angeles city sales tax

SEIU Local 721

Alice Walton/KPCC

SEIU Local 721 opposed the city's efforts to change its pension system. Now, the labor group is opposing the Los Angeles City Council's plan to increase the city sales tax.

A union representing Los Angeles city workers has joined the top mayoral candidates in opposing a plan to increase the city sales tax a half percent.

A committee of SEIU Local 721 unanimously voted to oppose the measure that is expected to appear on the March 5, 2013 ballot. The Los Angeles City Council will take a final vote on Tuesday to send the proposed increase to voters.

“The proposed half-cent sales tax is a regressive tax that would hurt middle class workers in Los Angeles," said SEIU 721 President Bob Schoonover. "Our members decided they just couldn’t support it."

“The city council ignored other revenue raising measures, and did so by relying on polls generated by real estate industry lobbyists. Neither council President [Herb] Wesson, nor the council as a whole has studied this measure independently or discussed it with city workers.”

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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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