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Did the LACC cave to real estate interests by putting the tax hike on the March ballot?

City Councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr. at a council meeting at City Hall on June 1, 2012.
City Councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr. at a council meeting at City Hall on June 1, 2012.
Andres Aguila/KPCC

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Angelenos voted on state tax measures one week ago, but they may be voting on another tax measure in March if the Los Angeles City Council successfully places a half-cent sales tax hike on the ballot. The proposed measure is aimed at preventing new cuts in city services by boosting revenue by an estimated $215 million a year, but it has drawn immediate opposition. Left-of-center groups have accused city council members of caving to real estate interests by dropping plans for a property sales tax in favor of a hike that disproportionately impacts working class taxpayers. A second and final vote on the sales tax ballot measure is planned for next week.

If voters approve the measure, Los Angeles would have one of the highest tax rates in the state — 9.5 cents on every dollar of taxable sales. The city faces a budget shortfall that is expected to reach $216 million and City Council President Herb Wesson maintains the half-cent hike is the most practical option to avoid layoffs of city employees and to bridge the budget gap.

Is the Los Angeles City Council really caving to influential real estate interests? Do you support the half-cent sales tax hike as a necessary strategy to avoid cuts in city services including the Los Angeles Police Department? Is there a more practical alternative?


Alice Walton, KPCC reporter, covering today’s city council meeting

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