Proposition A Sales Tax Defeated

The measure would have raised the sales tax in the city by a half-cent, bringing the rate up to 9.5 percent.

A proposed half-cent sales tax billed by supporters as critical for funding public safety and other Los Angeles city services appeared to be heading for a narrow defeat.

The proposition needed 50 percent of the vote to pass in Tuesday's election, but with 100 percent of precincts reporting, it had received only about 45 percent of the vote.

Proposition A would have increased the city's sales tax by a half-cent, putting it at 9.5 percent overall, just under the 10 percent cap imposed by state law. According to the city, Proposition A would have raised about $211 million a year.

Revenue from the tax would have been used to fund the police and fire departments, along with senior services, gang- and drug-prevention programs and street and sidewalk repairs. Some city leaders called it essential to residents' safety, but opponents slammed it as a money grab by a city unable to control its own spending.

In a recent report to the City Council, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said passage of the tax is critical to provide continued funding of as many as 500 police officer positions and to maintain other services. Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings were among the supporters speaking about the need for the tax to pass.

But opponents of the proposition, including former Mayor Richard Riordan, contended the tax proposal was a response to consistent failure by the city to control its spending.

"This sales tax hike is bad for L.A., bad for hard-working Angelenos, bad for job-creating businesses and bad for the city's reputation," opponents wrote in a ballot argument against the measure. "It's a regressive tax that will have a disproportionate impact on working and middle-class Angelenos and encourage consumers to shop in nearby lower taxed cities.

"Worst of all, it doesn't solve the budget crisis, and will make finding real solutions so much more difficult in the future while delaying desperately needed repairs to our streets, sidewalks and other infrastructure."

According to the city, the 9.5 percent tax rate would be on par with nearby cities such as Santa Monica, Inglewood and El Monte.

The city is facing an estimated $216 million budget deficit in the coming fiscal year. In his report to the City Council, Santana said the deficit could jump to $360 million if the measure fails.

Beck and other supporters of the proposal have contended that the tax is critical to maintaining police service and bolstering the fire department.

"Without Proposition A's additional revenue, a minimum of 500 police officers that patrol our neighborhoods will be laid off and our historically low crime rates may be in danger," supporters wrote in a ballot argument in favor of the tax. "... Proposition A will cost the average Los Angeles resident less than 10 cents a day, and by law the tax cannot be applied to food and medicine." 

Terence Coates March 08, 2013 at 02:07 AM
Totally agree with you.
Terence Coates March 08, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Excellent idea. Had Prop A passed, it would have hurt our businesses, and our neighbors, who can't shop out of town. I'm sure we'll be punished with a rise in "fees".
Dave March 09, 2013 at 05:15 AM
Boy, there are some real crazies posting to this thread, but I would like to point out that the L.A. Times reported (and you all know the would never ever not print the truth) that the budget deifict is not near the $200M cited for Prop A. Will wonders never cease?
Union Fanboy March 09, 2013 at 07:05 AM
You said a mouthful buddy. We all just got screwed. All of the non voting public are a bunch of dummies who love throwing away their hard earned money.
YJ Draiman March 18, 2013 at 12:37 AM
The city of LA will do anything to justify a tax increase. The truth is; in order to bring new business to LA and create more permanent jobs we have to reduce taxes and bureaucracy. The city has to go aggressively after new business and help struggling business survive. Increased employment brings revenues to the government and takes the unemployed off government subsidy. We must also develop LA’s natural resources, which will create tens of thousands of permanent good paying jobs. YJ Draiman


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