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Local Tax Election Results:
Los Angeles Voters Defeat Sales Tax Hike

Voters in the city of Los Angeles ignored doom-and-gloom budget warnings from city officials, and rejected a $200 million sales tax hike on the March 5 ballot.

The vote on Proposition A came four months after more than 1.8 million voters in Los Angeles County (60.4 percent) supported Proposition 30, which increased the sales tax by 0.25 percent statewide.

Proposition A would have cost taxpayers an estimated $200 million by increasing the existing transactions and use tax 0.5 percent, bringing the city’s combined state-and-local sales tax rate to 9.5 percent.

The measure was supported by outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the city’s fire chief, who appeared in several commercials as the face of the campaign. City budget analysts told voters that if Proposition A failed, the city would lay off up to 500 police officers, reduce fire services, and make cuts to anti-gang efforts.

However, the leading mayoral candidates dismissed the proponents’ claims, and said the city can balance its books without a tax increase.

On the Saturday before the election, a University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times poll predicted that the tax hike would pass by a 53 percent to 41 percent margin, with the rest undecided. The big defeat occurred even with the absence of a media campaign in opposition, and with public employee unions spending $1.3 million to campaign for a “yes” vote.

In a March 6 editorial, the Los Angeles Daily News wrote: “Voters saw what a mess Prop. A was. Four months after approving Prop. 30’s temporary state tax increases earmarked for education, voters said a loud ‘no’ to a permanent half-cent sales-tax hike of vague purpose. They want leaders to make the tough decisions.” (Source: Los Angeles Daily News, March 6.)

Other local tax election results from March 5:

MARCH 5 ELECTION RESULTS

SUBJECT

COUNTY

JURISDICTION

BALLOT LABEL

DESCRIPTION

Result

‘Yes’ Vote

Bond, School

Los Angeles

Burbank Unified School District

Measure S

Authorizes issuance of $110 million in bonds to upgrade classrooms, computers, and technology and replace aging portable classrooms, electrical systems, plumbing, sewer lines, roofs, and play areas. Requires 55 percent vote for approval.

Pass

61.45

Hotel Tax

Los Angeles

City of San Dimas

Measure A

Increases transient occupancy tax from 8 percent to 12 percent. Requires majority vote for approval.

Pass

56.19

Oil Severance

Los Angeles

City of La Habra Heights

Measure B

Increases existing oil severance tax. Effective April 1, 2013, the tax would be 60 cents per barrel, and would recalculated each January 1 based on set criteria. Effective January 1, 2014, the wellhead tax would be $500, increased annually each January 1 until 2015, when the wellhead tax would decrease. Effective April 1, 2013, the tax per 1,000 cubic feet of gas would be 10 cents (some exceptions apply). Requires majority vote for approval.

Too Close to Call

50.50

Parcel Tax

Alameda

Piedmont Unified School District

Measure A

Imposes a parcel tax of $2,406 per parcel effective July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2021. Tax will be collected by the Alameda County Tax Collector, but the Board of Education will be responsible for the tax's administration. Homeowners who qualify for Supplemental Security Income, or are blind, disabled with limited income and resources or ages 65 and older are exempt from the tax. To obtain an exemption, homeowners shall submit an application to the school district, and the district will transmit information to the tax collector an annual basis. Requires a two-thirds vote for approval.

Pass

76.99

Spending Limit

Los Angeles

City of La Habra Heights

Measure A

Removes spending limit for fire tax funds. Requires majority vote for approval.

Pass

59.90

MARCH 5 ELECTION RESULTS (CONTINUED)

SUBJECT

COUNTY

JURISDICTION

BALLOT LABEL

DESCRIPTION

Result

‘Yes’ Vote

Sales and Use Tax

Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

Proposition A

Increase transactions and use tax by 0.5 percent, bringing the combined state and local sales tax in the city to 9.5 percent. Ballot summary states that measure is needed “To offset severe and repeated State cuts and provide funding for: 911 emergency response services; maintaining firefighter, paramedic, and police officer staffing levels; continuing community policing, senior services, after-school gang and drug prevention programs; repairing potholes and sidewalks; and other general municipal services.” Requires majority vote for approval.

Fail

44.80

Sales and Use Tax

Merced

City of Atwater

Measure H

Imposes a 0.5 percent transactions and use tax to fund police, fire and 911 emergency response services for 10 years. Requires a two-thirds vote for approval.

Pass

67.1

Utility User Tax

Los Angeles

City of Monterey Park

Measure DD

Expands the utility user tax to cover telecommunication services, including mobile phones. The current telephone tax is 3 percent for residential users and 5 percent for commercial users. Requires majority vote for approval.

Pass

60.00

Utility User Tax

San Bernardino

City of Rialto

Measure W

Extends the existing 8 percent utility user tax for five years, until June 30, 2018. Requires majority vote for approval.

Pass

62.97

Compiled by the California Taxpayers Association. The list may not be inclusive of all local measures.

 

March 8, 2013
2013 California Taxpayers Association. All Rights Reserved.