LA WATCHDOG - Over the next two weeks, we will be bombarded by high priced commercials supporting Proposition A, the half cent increase in our already regressive sales tax to 9 ½ %, one of the highest rates in the nation.
These ads will be paid for by Herb Wesson’s $2 million slush fund, financed by benefactors of the City’s largesse, including the likes of AEG (Farmers Field), JH Snyder (Wilshire and Vermont), other big time real estate developers, parking lot operators, hotel operators, and the City’s campaign funding unions.
The City Hall establishment, led by LAPD Charlie Beck and LAFD Chief Brian Cummings (both of whom are NOT residents of the City), will threaten our very safety, claiming that if the increase in the sales tax is not passed, they will have to lay off cops and cut the emergency response times to balance the budget.
However, the City can eliminate the projected budget deficit of $216 million without a tax increase and without layoffs.
The City Administrative Officer indicated that pension contributions will be $45 million less than projected and revenues may be $70 to $80 million higher than anticipated.
The remaining $100 million deficit can be eliminated by entering into “public private partnerships” for the Zoo, the Convention Center, parking operations, Animal Services, and golf courses; through improved billing procedures, especially those related to the City’s ambulance services and parking lots; by requiring 70% of the City employees who pay nothing for their generous healthcare benefits to contribute 10% of the cost; and by instituting a non-exclusive trash franchise system that will yield $25 million in franchise fees.
Rather than droning on about why the PERMANENT half cent increase in the sales tax to a job killer 9½% is bad for LA and its economy, ask yourself the following question.
Do you trust the Mayor, the Herb Wesson led City Council, the union leadership, AEG, and all the special interest lobbyists to act in our best interests?
Obviously, the answer to that question is NO. These are the same bozos that are responsible for the $1.1 billion deficit over the next four years as the growth in labor expenditures will exceed the increase in revenue by $300 million; the $11.5 billion unfunded pension liability; and the sorry state of our roads, sidewalks, and the rest of our infrastructure that need more than $10 billion in investment over the next ten years.
So here are a dozen great reasons to vote NO on Proposition A.
1. Prop A was placed on the ballot in less than two weeks without any public hearings or input.
2. The Council did not consider the negative impact on retail sales, the economy, and jobs.
3. The budget can be balanced without any layoffs or service reductions. But that does not stop the City Hall extortionists from threatening to lay off cops and endangering our safety.
4. The tripling of our trash tax was to pay for 10,000 cops. Now the City wants more!
5. Since 2008, we have approved $850 million in new local taxes. Where has all the dough gone?
6. We do not need a PERMANENT tax to solve the City’s temporary shortage of revenue. A temporary tax would have been less divisive and more acceptable for voters.
7. The increase in the already regressive sales tax will slam lower and middle income families, only to benefit City employees who earn over an average of over $100,000 a year.
8. This is not the last tax increase to pay for over the top pay raises. The $200 million increase in sales tax revenues does not cover the $800 million growth in salaries, benefits, and pensions over the next four years. (Note: half of the City’s employees do not live in our City.)
9. The aggressive City unions have not agreed to new long term labor contracts. Will they want another 35% raise over the next 8 years if Proposition A passes?
10. This increase in taxes is just another one off solution as the City does not have a long term financial or strategic plan.
11. The City has not implemented any meaningful budget, pension, or work place reform, despite bogus claims to the contrary.
12. This is the same Mayor and City Council that allows DWP and the Ratepayers to be ripped off for over $750 million a year.
On March 5, our NO vote on Proposition A will send a loud and clear message to City Hall that we demand budget, pension, and work place reform.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler Classifieds -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vol 11 Issue 15
Pub: Feb 19, 2013