NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Los Angeles, CA, United States, 2013/02/12 - Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced his support for Proposition A, the half-cent sales tax increase on the March 5th city-wide ballot- ProtectLosAngeles.com.
Villaraigosa said in a February 10 News Conference: “We cut a third of the Los Angeles civilian general fund budget. We’ve had consolidations of departments, we found efficiencies. We’ve done everything that we can. When you look at the kinds of tough decisions that we’ve made … I can now support a sales tax increase.”
Revenues from Proposition A are expected to generate over $200 million and bolster the City’s general fund, 70% of which goes towards public safety. While the City has made tremendous strides in eliminating a massive structural deficit, the threat of cuts to public safety and other vital City programs remains a grim reality.
In “City at a Crossroads,” a 48-page report dated February 7th, Administrative Officer Miguel Santana described cuts to public safety as “unavoidable” if Proposition A is rejected. The city is facing a budget shortfall of nearly $220 million and Proposition A, if passed, would erase the vast majority of it. Santana also warned that 500 sworn police officers could be laid off if Proposition A is rejected.
Prominent civic leaders have thrown their support behind Prop A, including Police Chief Charlie Beck; LA Fire Chief Brian Cummings; LA Chamber of Commerce CEO Gary Toebben, LA Business Council Mary Leslie, Frank Lima, President of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles; Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
The half-cent sales tax increase will cost residents $30/year on average or less than a Starbucks cup of coffee every month.
Despite a significant reduction in the City's workforce and reforms to the pension system, Los Angeles faces a budget deficit of more than $200 million. Additional cuts to fire, police and paramedic services will leave LA neighborhoods unprotected and at risk.
Prop A funding will go towards:
• Funding fire and police departments across the city, including saving the jobs of 500 police officers that would be laid off
• Maintain youth gang prevention
• Patrolling parks and libraries
• Repairing streets and sidewalks
• Keeping senior meal programs
• Removing graffiti
• Maintaining after school programs
• Catching up on a large backlog of DNA testing for rape kits and ensuring this service continues to be offered by the City
• Ensuring city workers keep their pensions.
The half-cent sales tax increase is modeled after taxes in other cities including Santa Monica, El Monte, and Ingelwood. Prop A will not tax food, healthcare or utilities.