Prop A: Sales Tax Increase Aims to Lower L.A. Deficit

The Los Angeles ballot measure up for vote Tuesday would raise the sales tax in the city by a half-cent, bringing the rate up to 9.5 percent.

A measure on the March 5 ballot could help reduce Los Angeles's debt, but it would require anyone making a purchase in the city to foot the bill.

If passed, Proposition A would levy an additional half-cent sales tax on all goods and services purchased in the city, raising the rate to 9.5 percent and potentially netting Los Angeles $215 million.

Proponents of the measure say the tax hike is needed to address Los Angeles’s $216 million budget deficit and to pay for vital services such as 911 emergency response, paramedics, police, firefighters, after-school gang and drug prevention programs and street maintenance.

The city’s top budget official, Miguel Santana, earlier this month warned that cuts to these services would be unavoidable if Proposition A did not pass, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Others question the timing of the proposed tax increase. With the March 5 elections, new officials are coming into office and Proposition 30 — the half-cent increase in state sales tax to fund schools — just went into effect in January.

Several of the mayoral candidates in a forum last November opposed the tax increase, calling it unnecessary, The Daily News reported

"I think we need to have an emphasis on growing our economy," L.A. councilman and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti said. "We can't tax our way out of this."

His opponent, former controller Wendy Greuel, told The Los Angeles Times: "Before taking a sales tax to the voters, the Council needs to demonstrate that it has fixed the problems that exist and has explored all other options."

Mayoral candidate Kevin James also told the Times he opposes the tax hike. "It is bad for our local businesses, chases customers away, and hurts working class families," he said.

Candidate Jan Perry likewise opposes the tax increase, she told the Times. "I believe that the city should do all that it can to get its fiscal house in order before going to the taxpayers."

Emanuel Pleitez, also running for mayor, called the proposal a "regressive tax that hurts the poorest in our city the most."

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is supporting Proposition A, saying without the additional revenue, a minimum of 500 police officers who patrol neighborhoods will be laid off. 

"Proposition A will help restore a severely understaffed fire department, help maintain police, and paramedic staffing levels and ensure fast and effective 911 response services to make sure residents receive quality emergency medical care and get to a hospital quickly," he said in a statement on SmartVoter.org, the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund website on candidates and ballot measures.

The L.A. County Federation of Labor, United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, L.A. Fire Chief Brian Cummings and City Councilmen Bill Rosendahl and Joe Buscaino are also among those supporting the ballot measure.

For more information on Proposition A, visit SmartVoter.org.

How will you vote on Proposition A March 5? Tell us in the comments.

Chewy March 03, 2013 at 04:33 AM
Elke pour yourself another glass of that Obama Kooliad before it runs out.
Terence Coates March 03, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Me too.
nonoise March 03, 2013 at 03:45 PM
No 710. Vote Jesse Rosas for CD1.
El Cid March 03, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Why did Solomon tax his people so heavily? It's time to STOP today's Solomons and DEMAND they be fiscally responsible, take pay cuts, and like us "WORK HARD FOR THE MONEY!"
Culturevator March 03, 2013 at 04:57 PM
NO 710. Vote for Jose Gardea! Don Q is absolutely correct. Shared sacrifice is what would determine my vote in a heartbeat.
Nimby pimp March 03, 2013 at 05:01 PM
The real story of the city's budget is public employee pension costs. It is the fastest growing budget item that grew 25% in the past decade. Pensions now consume 18% of budget compared to just 3% in 2002-03.
El Cid March 03, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Culturevator is right! Vote for JOSE GARDEA! I'm not sure if past pension agreements can be re-negotiated. Most likely, not! But, new employees can be hired with realistic, affordable pensions that don't break a city's budget. Another thing - Demand that LA City employees be the BEST! Many are complacent and do the minimal! Get them to hustle and be proactive at performing their jobs! Management and Supervisors for departments need to make sure LA City employees perform!
nonoise March 03, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Vote Jesse Rosas. No way, Jose already as a record of doing nothing working for "do nothing Ed Reyes. Not another 12 years of doing nothing!! Not another same old, same old, dirty streets, huge potholes, most violent crime in the city in CD1, no gang prevention programs, no more same old same. Jose has done nothing to improve CD1. Not another 12 years of Ed Reyes. Vote Jesse Rosas for CD1. Vote for change.
venicebeachpress.com March 03, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Paul Koretz wants higher taxes. No way. Vote Herd in Cd 5. Get the crooks out!
Sean March 03, 2013 at 09:32 PM
bankruptcy may be the only way to get the unions under control many union members have been doing their jobs so long, they have become complacent, and just doin time until they retire
Culturevator March 03, 2013 at 10:49 PM
Nonoise, I can't understand a thing Jesse Rosas says. His thoughts and speech are incomprehensible. When you can't put together a thought that makes sense,you certainly are not qualified to help run a city. He will never win, and we all in CD1 know it. Jose Gardea is the best candidate. He didn't move here to run, like Cedillo did. He has lived in CD1 forever. He is very intelligent, and insightful, unlike Reyes. Stop picking on him. You're just mad about the church bells. Perhaps you should have your belfry checked.
Nimby pimp March 04, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Bats in the belfry. That's funny!
Albert Nelson March 04, 2013 at 01:35 AM
Koretz wants higher taxes, get him out! Herd for cd5..... www.voteherd.com
venicebeachpress.com March 04, 2013 at 01:50 AM
We want lower TAXES Not Higher taxes. Get these tax and waste politicians out. Especially Koretz (pro tax, prop A) in CD5, get Herd (www.voteherd.com) in. And Kevin James for Mayor!
ruth March 04, 2013 at 03:32 AM
NO on TAX! They got us into this and now want US to get them out of it! DO NOT vote for any of the City Council Criminals who voted over and over to raise the pay of those funding their campaigns, bringing us to the BRINK OF BANKRUPTCY!! Oh, they now regret it.. But want to be Mayor. Sorry too late! LA's only hope is Kevin James. The Cancer of Corruption must end. He will go around the corrupt city council, put things on the Ballot, LISTEN to PEOPLE (Wink Wink Eric!)..The rest of them, (ESPECIALLY GARCETTI, only working for his DEVELOPERS), will just work for all of those that lined their pockets for their Mayoral Bids. Adios to them. And Eric, Mr. Sensitive to THE PEOLE"S QUALITY OF LIFE, you told Hollywoodians, "if you don't like living in Hollywood, MOVE!" Well, if you like skyscrapers so much YOU MOVE! TO NYC! They wouldn't give you the time of day there..Just as you wouldn't give Hollywoodians the time of day!
nonoise March 04, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Your wrong. I don't believe that anyone should hold something against someone because english is their second language. It does not mean they are not smart. It does not mean that they can not get things done. As anyone knows you can not speak at all and be highly intelligent. Just look at deaf people. Jesse Rosas is a highly intelligent man running a business for many, many years. You don't stay in business unless you really know what you are doing.
Anita March 04, 2013 at 06:03 PM
A BIG "NO" on Proposition A. The money just goes into the sink hole of the General Fund..with no safeguards that it will go for Fire and Police protection..just to fill the budget hole that this inept Council has created. If they really needed this money for something good they should have explained it in their message with a sunset time..but no, this is open ended and forever!! NO NO NO to Proposition A Annoyed in the Valley
Vote Hess March 04, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Unions are just going to have to work for less. If the workers don't like it too bad their are plenty of people looking for work that would be grateful for the job.
Jo March 05, 2013 at 02:51 AM
LA, Chicago, Detroit...what do these and many other on-the-verge-of bankruptcy cities have in common? They are run by Democrats. Vote NO for Prop A and please vote for Kevin James, the only outsider. Why would anyone trust the very people who gave away the lavish pensions that are bankrupting our city. Street sweeping on open routes has been reduced from ev. 4 weeks to ev. 27 weeks. Zero dollars budgeted for sidewalk repairs and tree trimming. Shame on Gruehl, Perry and Garcetti; they do not even deserve the jobs they have let alone a promotion. Boot all these insiders who voted for the extravagant pensions out of office. NO on Prop A!!!
Taxpayers Petition March 05, 2013 at 03:39 AM
LA and Chicago are also the most corrupt cities in the nation, per a recent study by University of Illinois. Vote MARK HERD and get rid of corrupt incumbent Paul Koretz. We are Dems and agree with you about the need for Republican presence to counterbalance the all Democrat city government. The problem is also incumbency. These incumbents are so smug that they are untouchable. Vote MARK HERD. Get rid of corrupt incumbent Paul Koretz.
Taxpayers Petition March 05, 2013 at 03:58 AM
Robert, we have been paying for it and paying for it again and again. The money is there for city services but these grubby City Council crooks redirect your money into their own pockets and into the pockets of city unions and campaign donors. They lie to taxpayers about no money, they say you won't be safe or your child won't have education, they'll say and do anything to rinse you of more money, the money gets dumped into the General Fund which seems to be used like a money laundering device, and then diverted to cronies. As for the City Council salary, it is criminal. They make close to $200,000 plus all kinds of perqs and expenses which are reportedly abused. They reportedly don't work full time and are supposed to work full time. Our state assembly makes nearly 1/2 less salary, so state pols are flocking to LA because LA is the honey pot where taxpayers are being fleeced every which way. City Council salary and perqs need to be slashed. Paul Koretz reportedly took taxpayer revenue from street/bus bench ads and used it for his own office instead of fixing streets, even though he reportedly already gets millions to "support" his office. Then he does a phony song and dance acting exasperated about how "there's just no money" for street repair.
Taxpayers Petition March 05, 2013 at 04:01 AM
Yes, voter apathy is the best friend to these politicians. The key is mobilizing the senior citizen population. They are reliable and activist voters.
Taxpayers Petition March 05, 2013 at 04:06 AM
Agreed. Mark Herd for CD5. Get rid of Koretz. Paul Koretz's staff is worse than Jack Weiss's staff. Paul Koretz's staff is outright abusive to constituents. It is said the fish stinks from the head.
Taxpayers Petition March 05, 2013 at 04:14 AM
Los Angeles needs an intervention and some sort of external oversight. The city needs to declare bankruptcy and the courts need to intervene. Council offices need to be audited and accountable. Some council members should be recalled.
Gaylord Herron March 05, 2013 at 08:07 AM
Paul Korupz caught stealing on camera at city hall everytime he raises your taxes and gives it away to cronnies. Look at it this way. LA, Chicago, Detroit...what do these and many other on-the-verge-of bankruptcy cities have in common? They are run by Democrats. Vote NO for Prop A and please vote for Kevin James, the only outsider. Why would anyone trust the very people who gave away the lavish pensions that are bankrupting our city. Street sweeping on open routes has been reduced from ev. 4 weeks to ev. 27 weeks. Zero dollars budgeted for sidewalk repairs and tree trimming. Shame on Gruehl, Perry and Garcetti; they do not even deserve the jobs they have let alone a promotion. Boot all these insiders who voted for the extravagant pensions out of office. NO on Prop A!!! Kevin James for Mayor and Herd for CD5
Terence Coates March 05, 2013 at 09:26 AM
I agree with you all. Now, Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield wants to leave Sacramento, and join his six other termed-out Assembly buddies for the big bucks in LA. I say no, to "2 job Bob" in CD3.
venicebeachpress.com March 05, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Koretz in favor of Prop A. Vote Koretz OUT! Vote K out, Vote K out! please these machine candidates are bankrupting the city. Vote for the other candidate Mark M. Herd
Taxpayers Petition March 05, 2013 at 03:58 PM
"Machine candidate" is the right phrase. Paul Koretz is a machine candidate working for special interests, not for constituents. Here is a disturbing article on how L.A.taxpayers are getting ripped off by City Council and the sneaky fine print written into laws and how corrupt LA is compared to other cities: http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2008/10/amazing_los_angeles_city_counc.php
ChickenBoyFan March 05, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Please end our legacy of handing over our tax money to corporate/labor interests, and the mayoral candidates, whom are reruns of the LA City Council. Pension reform must be instituted. The labor unions need to have their asses handed to them for what they have stolen from us. Labor unions are good things, but ours,here in LA have too much power. I'm not in a union, so why should my tax dollars be handed over to an entity I am not allowed to join??? They are all for one, and none for all!!! Stop them from continuing to rape and pillage our pocketbooks. Demand reform.
venicebeachpress.com March 05, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Paul (Taxman) Koruptz losing to Herd in polls taken after debate. Paul is busy running around town telling everyone to raise their taxes for Pauls overpaid union cronies


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