County supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday, July 20th, to put on the Tuesday, November 2nd, a ballot measure to increase by a half-cent the amount of sales tax buyers would pay in the county.
The funds would go to sheriff’s and police agencies in the county’s 88 cities to beef up public safety efforts.
It is estimated that as much as $560 million a year will be generated by the half-cent increase, raising the sales tax that the public would pay in Los Angeles County to 8.75 percent.
The ballot measure had been promoted by Sheriff Lee Baca, who first attempted to put the measure on the November ballot by raising sufficient signatures.
But the signature drive failed and Baca had to go to county supervisors, asking that they put the half-cent increase measure on the fall ballot.
But, requiring four supervisorial votes, Baca could initially get support from only Supervisors Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and Zev Yaroslavsky.
Supervisor Mike Antonovich opposed the sales tax hike and Supervisors Don Knabe and Gloria Molina held out for weeks, attempting to get a higher percentage of the sales tax increase revenue for county agencies other than Baca’s Sheriff’s Department.
County district attorney Steve Cooley also sought more funds for prosecutors.
Baca had earlier met with cities in the county and had agreed to portion out the sales tax increase among the cities and his Sheriff’s Department.
But as negotiations dragged on and the deadline for placing the measure on the November 2nd ballot neared, Baca was forced to give up a greater percentage of the anticipated revenue in order to win the last two required votes by the Board of Supervisors, necessary for the measure to be placed on the ballot.
Even though Knabe agreed to put the measure on the ballot, he admitted he does not favor the measure.
If the measure passes, the City of Los Angeles is expected to get $164 million annually from the sales tax increase.
Polls indicate that the half-cent increase proposal presently does not have the support of the required two-thirds of voters necessary for passage.
Baca says he plans to raise $2 million to promote the measure.