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New Taxes in LA Just Preserves a Broken System

LA City Council wants to pass regressive tax hikes and preserve a broken budget. That won't bring back services we desperately need.

LA City Council faces $1 billion in budget shortfalls over the next four years. To fix it, they want to tax us more. But all that will do is to preserve the current levels of service, which I believe we can agree are supremely inadequate. 

They spend over $7 billion a year of our money already and have failed to keep up with sidewalk repair, street sweeping, tree maintenance, keeping libraries and parks open without taxing us more, and generally not living up to the expectation we have of an international city. 

Our budget is broken. We need to publish the budget online in a user-friendly format that allows us to track spending in real time. We need to enact meaningful pension reform so we're not paying out up to 120% of a person's salary each year for their retirement. We need to initiate a performance based budget so that our city departments are connecting their budget requests to actual goals that we can measure. 

Most importantly, we need to generally start looking for ways to promote the growth of business here in LA instead of passing taxes in areas like real estate and the sales tax at a time when our recovery might just be finding its legs. If we pass new taxes, let's make them value-added taxes that both increases revenue and spurs lifestyle changes that cut costs - like a penny an ounce soda tax that would generate over $100 million a year in revenue while potentially curbing consumption of a beverage decreases productivity at school because of tooth decay in children and harms worker productivity in the long term for adults due to chronic illnesses like diabetes. 

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Too cool for school November 02, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Vote No on prop 30 all it is going to do is fund the pension plans of union member. 90% of the Schools overhead is labor and thats where the tax increase will go. Schools and school programs will never benefit from this tax. This is just a lie brought to you by governor Brown, so he can once again pander to the unions.
Patricia November 03, 2012 at 07:40 AM
Odysseus: I do agree that this additional sales tax that Rosendahl is endorsing is not wise. But to be frank endorsing another tax, on sodas, that you think will curb consumption is equally unwise. We have to stop looking at additional taxing as the solution. We are not addressing the underlying problems, just throwing money at them and it isn't working! Educate people about the issues and stop taking their money away instead.
Patricia November 03, 2012 at 07:47 AM
Odysseus another comment here. We need someone who takes a new, fresh look at things, not another way to tax us at another venue that that person feels is more productive. A new paradigm is needed. A whole new approach. Passing a different tax, while it might be well intended,, is infuriating to a lot of us.
Odysseus Bostick November 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Patricia- I responded to your comment when it came through the first time, but it looks like it didn't take. I don't argue for tax increases. I believe that our local government has enough money to serve us well - they just don't use it well. We have a fundamental problem with our budget that creates structural deficits that are increasing each year. In fact, if the sales tax increase passed, we would find that next year's budget would be unbalanced by $1 million dollars, but worse than that, each year after next would result in a widening gap between revenue and costs EVEN WITH the sales tax increase. It's obvious to us all that city hall cannot challenge their financial backers with real and meaningful pension reform. That's why I'm running. I want to fix the pension problem so we can get ourselves back on the path towards growth. As far as tax proposals go, I put the soda tax out as an example of a tax I think would generate revenue without slowing our economy down. But let me be absolutely clear: city hall doesn't need any more money until our pension problem is solved. Giving them more money now will only put the problem off just long enough for us to go bankrupt.

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