With the March 5 election approaching, Los Angeles business owners, public safety officers, and politicians find themselves in debate mode as the city considers a sales tax increase to generate funding. Measure A, a proposition which would increase sales tax in Los Angeles county by .5%, is intended to help make up for an anticipated $216 million deficit.
Many current and outgoing officials, including current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief Charlie Beck, are proponents of Measure A, and say that the sales tax increase could prevent crucial cuts to public safety funds. Opponents of the proposition argue that the tax hike may seem small, but it is enough to drive business out of Los Angeles and into neighboring cities with lower sales tax rates. Several of the candidates for mayor and other city council positions have spoken out against Measure A, saying that generating funds doesn’t necessarily mean public safety cuts.
Could a .5% sales tax increase drive business out of Los Angeles? Would you travel to a neighboring city to make a significant purchase? If the sales tax increase doesn’t pass, will there be cuts to public safety funding? How could that affect L.A. county’s police force?
Ruben Gonzales, Vice President of Public Policy & Political Affairs, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce
David Adelman, Chair of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association and partner at Greenberg & Bass LLP