Los Angeles seeking sales tax hike to pay for raises for city employees

At a time when the city of Los Angeles faces an overwhelming $1 billion budget deficit, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is seeking to impose a sales tax that would help pay for raises for the city’s employees, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.

The employee raises are estimated to cost taxpayers $167 million over a period of three years. The mayor and Police Chief Charlie Beck are urging voters to support the sales tax hike on the Mar. 5 ballot, which would increase the rate to 9.5 percent, one of the highest percentages in California.

Due to the projected costs of the income raises, it will be equal to three-fourths of the new revenue that Los Angeles expects to receive if the sales tax measure is approved next month.

Thousands of civil servants that belong to the Coalition of L.A. City Unions, an organization that represents trash truck drivers, custodians, landscapers and other employees, are scheduled to receive two wage increases: 3.75 percent was given last summer, 1.75 percent will be handed out on Jul. 1 and a 5.5 percent hike is slated for Jan. 1, 2014.

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  1. Harvey Englander says:

    I know that facts don’t seem to matter to some people, but the City of Los Angeles reduced their deficit from $1.2 billion to $212 million through a series of employee layoffs, eliminated over 4000 jobs, forced employees to almost double their contributions to pension and healthcare benefits. There are fewer public service positions in the city of Los Angeles today than there were 20 years ago. Passing Prop. A, which will cost the average person $30 per year and has no loopholes, is the only way to ensure that paramedic, fire and police services are not reduced. Crime is the lowest it has been in LA for 50 years. If you want to reduce the size of the police and fire departments and increase response times for our paramedics — then vote no. But if you are a responsible citizen, vote YES.

    • Harvey: so you are saying we should pay more in taxes to receive services from fewer, but higher paid, civil servants?

      How about instead of always holding the taxpayers ransom over essential services the city council starts by eliminating some non-essential services?

      Instead of fixed raises for union employees regardless of merit, we try competitively outsourcing with open bids and no cronyism?

      Sales tax is regressive, and easily avoided by all but those least able to pay it. It hurts local retailers and long term the city will suffer as businesses and consumers are driven to lower tax jurisdictions.

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