And now the campaign funding public sector unions, led by the California Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union, want to hit us up with yet another tax, this one for a record $12 billion, asking us to approve Proposition 15, the Split Roll.
California already has the highest gas tax, the highest sales tax, and the highest income rate in the nation.
In Los Angeles, we are clobbered with numerous other taxes and fees, ranging from utility taxes, sewer and trash fees, development fees, and my favorite, the $225 million transfer from the Department of Water and Power to the City’s General Fund.
The union proponents of Proposition 15 stress that this is a tax on commercial and industrial properties. It does not include single family residents or apartment buildings. But rest assured, the owners of commercial and industrial properties will not eat this tax but will pass it along to Angelenos through higher prices for goods and services.
Based on LA’s 10% share of the State’s population, Angelenos will be paying $1.2 billion in increased prices, paid in nickels and dimes, like any regressive tax. But how does this new intrusion into our wallets compare to other taxes.
The $1.2 billion tax increase is the equivalent to a 2% bump in our sales tax.
Alternatively, it is equivalent to a 20% increase in our property taxes.
If a 2% increase in our sales tax or a 20% bump in our property taxes were on the ballot, they would be overwhelmingly rejected by the voters.
The union proponents tell us that money from Prop 15 (cleverly promoted as “The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act”) will go to improve our schools, provide services to our local communities, and strengthen local economies.
In Los Angeles, the new money will go to pay for the budget busting labor agreements that were negotiated behind closed doors by Mayor Garcetti, Councilmen Herb Wesson and Paul Krekorian, and wannabe Controller Paul Koretz. This fiscally irresponsible gang knew damn well that the new labor agreements would blow a $1.6 billion hole in the City’s budget over the next four years. Nevertheless, they sold us out to their public union cronies.
At the same time that our elected officials are asking us to approve this massive tax increase, the Mayor and the City Council have not even addressed needed budget reforms, including those suggested by the LA 2020 Commission and the Neighborhood Budget Advocates. These include, among others, the establishment of an independent Office of Transparency and Accountability to oversee the City’s budget and finances in real time, open and transparent labor negotiations, a prohibition on entering into any labor agreement if it results in a deficit., and a comprehensive review of the City’s two seriously underfunded pension plans.
Do we reward the bad behavior of the most corrupt City Council in the history of Los Angeles? Do we support the equivalent of a 2% increase in our 9½% sales tax? A 20% increase in our property taxes? No way.
Vote NO on Proposition 15. Protect Proposition 13.
[Note: This is the second in a series of articles on efforts to amend and dilute Proposition 13, a landmark measure that continues to protect property owners from our fiscally irresponsible elected officials and their cronies.]
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. He can be reached at: email@example.com.) Graphic credit: The Real Deal.