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County of Los Angeles Landfill Tax, Measure L (June 2012)

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A County of Los Angeles Landfill Tax, Measure L ballot question was on the June 5, 2012 ballot for voters in Los Angeles County, where it was approved.

In January 1991, the Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles County imposed a 10% "Business License Tax + Disposal Facilities" tax. The tax applies to the gross receipts received by operators of landfills in the unincorporated areas of the county for the disposal of waste in landfill facilities.

The 10% "landfill tax" was imposed without voter approval. Subsequent to that time, various lawsuits in California indicated that voter approval is needed for certain taxes that were imposed after 1990. This meant that a lawsuit could have been filed challenging the January 1991 tax, and that the plaintiffs in such a hypothetical lawsuit might prevail, in which case the tax would have been revoked.

With that prospect in sight, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors decided to put Measure L on the ballot. Since the county's voters approved Measure L, the 10% landfill tax has now been approved by voters. The expectation is that this means that the landfill tax will stay in effect regardless of whether a court should at some point invalidate the January 1991 imposition of the tax.

Election results

Measure L
Approveda Yes 540,260 63.08%
These final results are from the Los Angeles County elections office (dead link).



The official voter guide arguments in favor of Measure L were signed by:

  • Zev Yaroslavsky, Chairman, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
  • William T. Fujioka, CEO, Los Angeles County
  • Daryl L. Osby, Los Angeles County Fire Chief
  • Margaret Donnellan Todd, Los Angeles County Librarian

The editorial board of Eastern Group Publications endorsed a "yes" vote on Measure L, saying, "The tax pays for much needed services in the County and should be continued."[1]

Arguments in favor

The official voter guide arguments in favor of Measure L included:

  • "The current Los Angeles County landfills tax is a 10% tax on the gross receipts of landfills (dumps) operating within the unincorporated areas of the County. Measure L is necessitated by a change in State law that requires County voters to ratify this tax in order to maintain it at its current rate. Measure L will not increase the current tax, nor will it impose a new one. It simply keeps it at its current rate."
  • "Revenue from this tax supports vital countywide services such as parks, libraries, senior and emergency services. If Measure L is not approved, the tax could be completely eliminated, and the County would have to cut those services on which County residents depend."
  • "Measure L is a fair tax. Landfills impose a heavy burden on their neighbors and on County streets and highways. It's only fair that landfill operators in the unincorporated areas mitigate the impacts of their activity by continuing to pay this tax. L.A. County is not alone. Several cities in our region impose a landfill tax or fee including Glendale, Palmdale and the City of Los Angeles."
  • "Measure L is not a new tax; it maintains an existing tax at the existing rate. It ensures that County residents will continue to enjoy high-quality park, library, senior and emergency services at no cost to local taxpayers."


No arguments against Measure L were submitted for the official voter guide.

Ballot text

The question on the ballot:

MEASURE L: "Shall Los Angeles County's existing tax on landfills be readopted to ratify and continue the existing 10 percent tax on landfill operators' gross receipts from waste disposal in landfills in the unincorporated county, to fund essential general fund services, such as parks, libraries, senior services, and law enforcement; and to update the administrative appeal process, and clarify definitions to ensure the tax is properly calculated?"[2]

See also


  1. EGP News, "EGP Ballot Recommendations – Tuesday, June 5 2012 Election," May 17, 2012
  2. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.