City of Los Angeles Sales Tax Increase, Proposition A (March 2013)
|Referred by:||Los Angeles City Council|
|Topic:||Local Sales Tax|
If Proposition A had been approved, the sales tax on the purchase of goods and services made within the city would have increased by half-a-cent. Due to the Proposition 30 sales tax increase, the sales tax in the city increased to 9% on January 1, 2013. It would have gone to 9.5% for city residents on July 1, 2013 if they had approved Proposition A.
Proposition A would have resulted in an additional $215 million a year for the city's general fund.
The City of Los Angeles estimated that in the fiscal year starting on July 1, 2013, it would have a budget deficit of $216 million. The proposed sales tax increase was intended to deal with that situation.
- These final, certified, results are from the Office of the City Clerk of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles council member Paul Krekorian, who chairs the city's Budget and Finance Committee, supported the tax hike. He said, "When this city doesn’t function, when you can’t drive on the streets, when you can’t walk on the sidewalk, when we’re laying our employees off and putting them on the welfare rolls, that affects jobs and that affects our economy and that affects our city’s friendliness toward business as well."
Herb Wesson, who is the president of the Los Angeles City Council, said, "We need time to slow down and breathe, which is what this sales tax will do. It will afford each and every one of us the opportunity to do forward thinking where it relates to our future."
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, a union that represents rank-and-file police officers in the city, endorsed Proposition A.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said that if Proposition A is defeated, staffing in the department might have to be rolled back to about 9,500 officers. Each LAPD police officer costs the city about $148,000/year in wages and benefits.
As of March 2, 2013, the "Yes on Measure A" campaign had raised slightly over $1.5 million.
The largest donors were:
|Anschutz Entertainment Group||$117,313|
|Casden West LA LLC||$100,000|
|International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers||$75,000|
|Constellation Place, LLC||$75,000|
|Clear Channel Outdoor||$50,071|
|KW/WDC Westmoreland, LLC||$50,000|
|California Association of Realtors PAC||$50,000|
|SP Plus Municipal Services||$40,000|
|Van Wagner Communications, LLC||$37,293|
City council member Mitch Englander said that before expecting city residents to pay a higher sales tax, "We’ve got to be able to demonstrate that we’ve exhausted all of our resources, that we’ve turned over every stone. That we’ve gone down and cut not only the fat and the bone and muscle as some people are suggesting but we’ve actually gotten rid of all of the other additional things we shouldn’t be doing — all of the other additional layers."
City council member Dennis Zine said, "We have businesses closing down and people telling me they cannot pay any more in taxes. I think we still have room in the city budget to find more savings."
Several mayoral candidates opposed the tax hike. Candidates who announced their opposition to it included Jan Perry, Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel and Kevin James. In a mayoral debate, Greuel said, "I have concerns about going to the public for a sales tax at a time when the public doesn't believe we've done everything that we can do." Garcetti said, "I think we need to have an emphasis on growing our economy. We can't tax our way out of this."
Jack Humphreville signed the official sample ballot argument against Proposition A. He said that the city has runaway personnel costs which make it impossible to fund programs needed in the city: "They're trying to extort us. They're trying to scare the hell out of us by threatening basic public safety. Yet they're not controlling the largest cost factor, which is personnel expenses."
As of February 27, 2013, there have been no donations to any campaign efforts against Measure A.
"No on Measure A"
- The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times weighed in on the "no" side in an editorial on February 13. They wrote, "The issue for voters, though, is whether to accept the outgoing administration and council's judgment on how to solve the city's enduring budget problems, or to give the incoming leaders a chance to set their own priorities. All five of the top candidates for mayor have argued against the tax proposal. It may be just political posturing, but each one asserts that he or she can close the budget gap in the coming year without resorting to a levy that could hurt vulnerable consumers, deter businesses from locating in the city and slow the commerce that fuels the economy."
- The editorial board of the Los Angeles Daily News also opposes Measure A. They wrote, "We are convinced that city leaders need to live within their means. And we think they will be more likely to find ways to do that if they can't tap into a nearly quarter-billion-dollar new revenue stream - not only for the next few years but from here on out. Proposition A would be a permanent mistake for which L.A. residents and visitors would pay the price."
- See also: Polls, 2013 ballot measures
ABC-7 polled Proposition A in mid-February.
|Date of Poll||Pollster||In favor||Opposed||Undecided||Number polled|
The question on the ballot:
|MEASURE LA-A: "To offset severe and repeated State cuts and provide funding for: 911 emergency response services; maintaining firefighter, paramedic, and police officer staffing levels; continuing community policing, senior services, after-school gang and drug prevention programs; repairing potholes and sidewalks; and other general municipal services; shall the City of Los Angeles enact a one-half cent transactions and use (generally referred to as sales) tax, with required independent audits, public review of expenditures, and all funds used locally?"|
Path to the ballot
- Los Angeles Daily News, "Los Angeles City Council votes to put sales tax hike on March ballot", November 13, 2012
- KCET, "Sales Tax Increase Measure OK'd by L.A. City Council for March Ballot", November 20, 2012
- Southern California Public Radio, "Sales tax increase could appear on Los Angeles' March 2013 ballot", November 13, 2012
- Los Angeles Times, "L.A.'s top budget official warns of big cuts if tax measure fails", February 7, 2013
- Los Angeles Daily News, "Los Angeles mayoral candidates unite against proposed sales tax hike", November 14, 2012
- Los Angeles Times, "No on Proposition A", February 13, 2013
- Los Angeles Daily News, "Endorsement: No on Prop. A -- measure would be a permanent mistake for Los Angeles", February 19, 2013
- SCPR, "Survey: Measure A opposed by nearly half of Los Angeles' likely voters", February 19, 2013