Politics

Opponents of Metro's sales tax measure say LA benefits over their communities

FILE: A new group called
FILE: A new group called "No on M" urges Los Angeles County voters to turn down Measure M, the proposal to increase sales taxes to fund billions in transportation projects.
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An organized group called "No on M" is urging Los Angeles County voters to reject Measure M, a proposal on the general election ballot to raise sales taxes for billions of dollars in transportation projects. 

Chances are if you’ve seen or heard any official campaigning for Measure M, it’s from supporters of the measure that would extend an existing half-cent sales tax and add another half-cent tax to purchases within the county. The sales taxes would continue in perpetuity, or until voters repeal them.

Metro said the measure would cost an additional $25 per person per year, while the independent research firm Beacon Economics estimates it will mean an extra $35 to $65 per individual annually.

Measure M supporters include L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and groups like the AARP and Sierra Club. Those pushing for passage of the measure are well-financed — the "Yes on M"campaign has raised more than $4 million to run TV ads and pay for other promotion.

Opponents are waging their own video campaign, although on social media, with messages like: "Good news for the city of L.A. first … and good news for Southeast L.A. County and the South Bay in about 40 years …".

The "No on M" coalition includes elected officials from regions like the South Bay and Southeast Los Angeles County who feel Metro’s plan to use the sales tax revenue gives priority to the city of L.A. while their projects would languish. Their projects, like a light rail through Artesia, would eventually be funded by Metro, but wouldn't be complete until 2041.

Officials from Beverly Hills also joined the "No on M" campaign because the measure would help fund the Purple Line subway through the city, an alignment they oppose.

The "No on M" coalition has further drawn in community activists like Damien Goodmon, who heads the Crenshaw Subway Coalition and who feels low-income communities are overlooked in Metro's Measure M funding plan.

"It’s a bad plan and the equity in the projects is unconscionable," he said.

The "No on M" coalition is a fairly new group and has not yet filed any reports about its campaign finances. Reports filed by the Coalition to Preserve L.A., a group pushing the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative for the March L.A. city election, show it has donated $10,000 to the "No on M" campaign.

Measure M requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

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