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the skunks of los feliz
1.09.2005
 

LAPD Chief William Bratton wants you... to vote to raise the sales tax in Los Angeles, an increase that would be used to fund public safety improvements. In order to drum up support for a tax hike, Chief Bratton will be sending his emissaries, hats in hand, to public meetings across the city.

According to the GGPNC:

"The meeting for our Central area will begin at 6:30pm on Wednesday, January 12th, at 543 N. Fairfax Ave. (just south of Melrose at the National Council of Jewish Women). The meetings are being coordinated by the LAPD, the Mayor's office and the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE)."

Since a similar countywide measure was narrowly defeated by opposition from voters in the city's Southside neighborhoods, it could be a tough row for the Chief to hoe, especially since our sales tax is already fairly high. At some point city leaders have got to figure out how to pay for something as integral to a city's well-being as public safety without raising taxes.

We should be cutting things we don't need to bolster the public safety budget, not just heaping tax increases on top of one another. What happens when the sales tax reaches 10%? Do we just keep hiking it? If we exhaust that revenue source, then where will we turn for money?

The answer to this whole mess is to scrap Prop. 13 so local governments can benefit from the high value of local property. Cities could balance their budgets without a string of highly regressive tax increases. California schools could again become the nation's envy. Highways, transit systems, hospitals, all could be so much better than they are.

It will, alas, never happen. Prop. 13 has become California's political Third Rail: touch it, and die. Meanwhile, California's cities crumble, and politicians come back to voters with their hands out, over and over again.
 
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