Read L.A. Weekly's news story "L.A. Sales Tax Hike: Will $211 Million Increase Fix City's Problems?"
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Council president Herb Wesson say they need to raise the city's sales tax by one-half percent to close a looming $216 million budget deficit, but can taxpayers trust these shifty, loose-spending politicians with their money?
L.A. Weekly points out in an article by Hillel Aron that Villaraigosa loves raising various fees and taxes, but still can't keep the city from running huge budget deficits every year. Here's a list of past hikes, which have grabbed hundreds of millions of your hard-earned dough.
1. In seven years, the City Council has raised fees for L.A. parking tickets six times -- now squeezing $150 million annually from residents.
2. In 2012, the City Council raised DWP rates 11 percent over a two-year period. It's something of a hidden tax that generates millions in surplus money, which DWP transfers to L.A.'s general fund. Guess who controls that? The City Council.
3. Wesson and Villaraigosa obviously don't care one whit that Californians just approved Proposition 30's one-quarter percent sales tax hike in November 2012 -- and now want to slam Angelenos with another sales tax bump.
4. In 2008, voters approved a 9 percent "cellphone tax," Proposition S, raising some $243 million annually. Villaraigosa promised the money would pay for extra cops -- a favorite rallying cry for him. Then-Controller Laura Chick warned that the proposition's fine print actually sent those riches to the general fund.
5. Three months later, a unanimous City Council and Villaraigosa hiked trash, parking and other fees by $98 million -- once again, citing a need to hire cops.
6. In 2006, the City Council and Villaraigosa raised trash fees. What was their explanation? What else, to hire more cops. But they spent two-thirds of it not on hiring but on other LAPD expenses.
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This time around, Villaraigosa, with Wesson, is going the other way with the law-and-order cry. If they don't get the money, the politicians threaten taxpayers, they'll fire, not hire, 500 police officers.
In Aron's story, Councilman Bernard Parks, a former LAPD chief, says, "I've worked for the city for 50 years. I've seen two riots and five mayors. I've never seen a police officer laid off."
Check out the Weekly's story on this head-scratching money grab, "L.A. Sales Tax Hike: Will $211 Million Increase Fix City's Problems?"
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at email@example.com.