Talkback: Should L.A. raise the sales tax to avoid more budget cuts?
The Los Angeles City Council is considering appealing to voters for a tax increase to avoid further cuts to city services. The council will take up four possible tax measures for the March ballot Wednesday.
Lawmakers have said they can't continue making cuts, and need more revenue, Times city hall reporters Kate Linthicum, David Zahniser and Christine Mai-Duc reported Wednesday.
The largest proposed tax is Council President Herb Wesson's half-cent sales tax hike that would generate an estimated $220 million a year and give Los Angeles one of the highest sales tax rates in the state.
The measure would increase sales tax rates from 8.75% to 9.25%, in line with Santa Monica, Inglewood and other cities. Some other communities that border Los Angeles, including Burbank, Pasadena and Glendale, would have lower rates.
About 4,000 employees have been removed from the city payroll over the last four years with layoffs, early retirement packages and transfers to other agencies not affected by the budget crisis.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently said he would not support a tax measure unless additional cost-cutting measures were adopted. The city's budget shortfall is estimated to be $216 million next year and, without such a tax increase, $327 million the following year, according to Miguel Santana, the city's top budget official.
Photo: Los Angeles City Councilman Herb Wesson at City Hall. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times