The L.A Daily News is reminding us (as if we need reminding!) that a new sales tax bump being considered by Sacramento, when combined with the one passed by Angelenos in November as Measure R, will push the county sales tax up to 9.75 percent. This, the DN says, will make our sales tax the nation's second highest, behind Chicago's 10.25 percent. The problem, obviously, is that it's not as easy for those living in the middle of a 4,000-square-mile county to escape Measure R's increase by crossing over into the next county to buy a car or carton of cigarettes. The one percent statewide sales tax hike currently being debated, though, would be inescapable. As now floated, it would only last 39 months, but nothing seems to be more permanent than a temporary tax.
The DN piece also mentions ideas for increasing surcharges and taxes on personal income and gas, noting, "the 12-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax hike could take a toll on Angelenos, who already spend nearly two workweeks and 60 gallons each year simply idling in gridlock."
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If approved, the new sales tax would begin at 9.25 percent for Los Angeles County; then, on July 1, Measure R would kick in and push the tax up to 9.75 percent. In a previous L.A. Times column, George Skelton had found a silver lining here, noting that the one percent solution "makes more sense than the 1.5-cent hike previously proposed by the governor. That was a bit scary." Skelton also likes the income surcharge, claiming it hits people at all income levels, thus preventing a roller-coaster effect of the rich contributing less money to the treasury in lean years.