By David Stamp
Los Angeles City College poli sci teacher Salvador Sanchez says “Nobody has time for this, but we have to do it” — it being to ask L.A. voters to defeat Prop. A, a tax increase on the March 5 ballot that's heavily bankrolled by wealthy developers, monied labor unions, multinational billboard firms and other not-poor-folk.
At a protest at L.A. City Hall today, people like Lynda Tong, former study body vice president at LACC, said, “There's a lot of things that they can change here at City Hall — starting with their finances — before they even start taxing. Every time they come up with an issue, they want to tax, tax, tax. The ones that are going to be hit the most are those that are impoverished, the immigrants, the students, especially the students.”
Chip Croft, a senior citizen and documentary filmmaker who lives in working-class Westlake, says, “I can't afford to pay taxes like someone who's making $100,000 or $200,000 a year … People under the poverty limit will have to pay about 240 additional dollars a year, they figured out, in taxes.”
Westlake, which is west of downtown L.A., is home to “Central Americans, Mayans — those people definitely can't afford to pay an additional $240 a year,” says Croft. “They can barely afford groceries.”
Roberto Heraldson, a civic activist running for City Council District 13, said he supported the L.A. City Council's original plan to add more cost onto the real estate transfer tax — a plan hotly opposed by the city's wealthy land developers.
Heraldson says that, “As a small business owner — I have a small business that does visual effects for the studios in Hollywood — I'm not in favor of raising the sales tax because I feel that not only does it make a burden for the residents in our city and especially for those that have the least income in our city, but also I think it's difficult for businesses that are trying to attract customers.”
Student leader Tong took a swipe at mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, saying, “You know all those Wendy Greuel ads, the ones where she's found discrepancies?” Tong asks why Greuel and the rest of the City Council failed to long ago “muster up that $1.5 million dollars to help that police force.”
The citywide sales tax hike is the brainchild of City Council President Herb Wesson, who makes $178,789 per year as his salary, more than members of the U.S. Congress.
Tong adds, “As a student leader we had to be accountable to the students — we had to manage a [more than] $100,000 budget.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, a new poll shows the Proposition A tax increase is very narrowly ahead and could go either way at the polls tomorrow in what some have called a rich-versus-poor spectacle.