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Screwed! Angelenos Crushed by New Taxes Avalanche

JUST THE FACTS--Those in power with little or no concern for you and your family have done it again and again and are continuing the trend of doing it one more time. I am talking about the new avalanche of tax proposals that have been approved by various forms of government with no insight as to the challenges most of us face in our daily dealings with society and the multiple layers of government that control and manipulate our lives and provide us with little in return. 

I will begin with the proposed ½ cent transit tax that was originally scheduled to run for the next 40 years. Since 40 years was not enough time to soak us of more of our hard-earned money, it was modified to … the end of time. Yes a new transit tax if approved will be on the books forever! 

How long is that going to be? Past most of our lives and onto the lives of our children’s children. That is not very nice of our generation to saddle future generations with taxes before they are even born into our society with so many taxing situations. 

This tax is proposed to enhance our region’s transportation in many ways. I like the one about the freeway enhancements. They want to use our new tax dollars to install more car pool lanes then convert then into Fast Trac lanes where you have to purchase a computer and pay per mile depending on how many passengers you have in your vehicle. We pay to build the enhancement then pay to use it. Not much of a FREEway anymore. More like a toll road like they have established in parts of Orange County and other parts of the country. 

If you recall, CalTrans spent around one billion dollars expanding the 405 freeway from the San Fernando Valley to the Westside in an effort to reduce the congestion and gridlock on the 405. Well, if any of you have driven on the 405 recently you know you still sit in your car waiting for traffic to move. The money spent was good in establishing freeway construction jobs and not much more. 

The Experts now want to try another wild and costly solution to remedy the current and continual traffic gridlock along the same area of the 405. This time it will involve a tunnel or some other process to move traffic along the corridor. The pie in the sky ideas to reduce traffic in our congested region are just that. Wishful thinking without much if any substance.   

Before you vote to add an additional ½ sales tax to city purchases for transportation enhancements, ask yourself this simple question. How often and how much do you rely on public transportation to move around Los Angeles? I imagine that most of you seldom if every use the bus or rail system serving the Los Angeles region.   Since you don’t utilize the public transportation system in Los Angeles, why vote for an additional tax. 

The transit dependent population that currently uses public transportation to move about Los Angeles will not change. It will just be more of the same. More money gone and little if any improvement for those of us that enjoy the comfort of our cars. Remember that Keyes Motors would not be a world - class car dealer if people did not purchase cars to drive around our region. 

In addition to the transit tax, there are other proposed taxes and fees to address the exploding homeless population. Namely a $1.1 to 1.5 Billion dollar bond measure or parcel tax. The City of LA has an approved $8.76 BILLION DOLLAR BUDGET FOR THE 2016-2017 fiscal year. One would think that if the Billions were spent wisely, we would not have to keep going back to the tax payers for more and more money. 

Don’t forget about your DWP fees that are all going up. They have already been approved for increases for the next few years.   

I could go on and on with the increases we are all facing on the November election ballot. My message is very clear and to the point. With a city budget of $8.76 BILLION Dollars, there is money to dedicate to the priorities in our region. NO NEW TAXES. VOTE NO in November and let our elected officials do the job we have elected them to do. Provide municipal services within the approved budget. No more fees and/or taxes!      

(Dennis P. Zine is a 33-year member of the Los Angeles Police Department and former Vice-Chairman of the Elected Los Angeles City Charter Reform Commission, a 12-year member of the Los Angeles City Council and a current LAPD Reserve Officer who serves as a member of the Fugitive Warrant Detail assigned out of Gang and Narcotics Division. He writes Just the Facts for CityWatch. You can contact him at [email protected].)

-cw