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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California

City Council Votes to Put Tax Increase on March Ballot

If Mayor Villaraigosa approves the tax increase on the ballot, voters will determine the measure in March. 

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to place a half-cent sales tax increase on the March municipal ballot.

In an 11-4 vote, council members agreed to submit the tax hike to voters if Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signs the measure. 

If passed by voters in March, the measure would increase the sales tax to 9.5 percent on all goods sold in L.A.

City Council President Herb Wesson proposed the tax, which is estimated to raise $216 million deficit for the next fiscal year.

City council members Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti said the tax would make Los Angeles less business friendly. Councilmen Dennis Zine and Mitch Englander also voted against the tax increase. Zine said the city could increase collections from delinquent taxpayers and improve revenue collections, which could close the deficit and stop layoffs of police officers.

Police Chief Charlie Beck said any future budget cuts would most likely hurt his department, thus leading to more crime. He said $50 million in budget cuts to the police department would lead to the layoffs of 500 police officers and said he would vote for the tax increase.

It is Mayor Villaraigosa's decision whether to approve placing the tax increase on the ballot, veto the measure or abstain, which would place the proposal before voters. 

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