Represent! | 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.)

Measure A would increase the city’s sales tax to 9.5 percent beginning on July 1.