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Tue, Apr

Another Tax Increase!

LA WATCHDOG

LA WATCHDOG - The Homeless Industrial Complex is collecting signatures to place on the November ballot a permanent half cent sales tax to fund the County’s homeless programs.  The proposed Affordable Housing, Homelessness Solutions, and Prevention Now Transactions and Use Tax Ordinance would replace the Measure H quarter of cent sales tax that expires in 2027 that was approved by 69% of the County’s voters in 2017.  

If approved by the voters, our sales tax will increase to 9.75% and will be expected to raise $1.25 billion a year, an amount equal to a 6.25% increase in our property taxes. 

According to the governmental proponents of this complex 20 page, 8,500-word ballot measure, this new tax will provide a permanent revenue source for the County.  This would allow the County to move more people from encampments into permanent supportive housing, address mental health and substance abuse, reduce the number of people falling into homelessness, and increase affordable housing throughout the County. In other words, something for everybody, courtesy of the taxpayers.  

But according to a recent report prepared for Los Angeles Alliance for Human Rights by Tim Campbell, a contributor to CityWatch and an experienced government auditor, the County is a dysfunctional organization with a numerous departments (LAHSA, HI, DMH, DPH, DHS, HACLA) working at cross purposes and unable to effectively spend their budgets that are funded by a series of regressive taxes. 

In addition, the City is not getting its fair share according to a motion by Councilwoman Traci Park.  The City has 60% of the County’s homeless population, 40% of its residents and tax base, and only 12% of the land.  On the national level, we are a homeless magnet with almost 7.6% of the homeless population compared to 1.2% of country’s population.   

If placed on the ballot by the Homeless Industrial Complex, we will need a better understanding as to whether our tax dollars are being used efficiently.  We also deserve to have an increased level of transparency provided by independent third parties because it is apparent that the County and the City are unable to provide us with accurate, unbiased information in a timely manner. 

In November, we can also expect to see other measures on the ballot to increase our taxes, including measures from LAUSD to help solve its Structural Deficit, the City to fund permanent supportive housing, and the State to increase our income taxes and to authorize billions in bonds to address climate change. 

To quote Mark Twain, “No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”

 

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at:  [email protected].)

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