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L.A. business group comes out against proposed sales tax hike

November 15, 2012 |  4:27 pm

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson.

A group that represents San Fernando Valley businesses came out Thursday against a half-cent sales tax hike backed by Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, saying city leaders should find other ways to  address their budget crisis.

The board of the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn. "overwhelmingly" opposed the tax increase, which is planned for the March 5 mayoral election ballot. As part of their announcement, VICA officials criticized the council's handling of key financial matters, such as the collection of unpaid taxes and its recent decision to award exclusive franchises for trash pickup at commercial businesses.

“Rather than adopting the non-exclusive franchise system as recommended by VICA, the City Council opted to vote for a system that will drive waste haulers across the city out of Los Angeles and cost residents and businesses more money for collection,” said David Adelman, chairman of VICA's board.

The council voted Tuesday to put the tax on the ballot, with a final vote set for next week.

Until Thursday, business leaders had been mum on the sales tax measure, which is expected to generate $215 million annually. Both the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Central City Assn. were quiet during recent hearings on the proposal.

"We have every intention of campaigning" against the sales tax hike, said VICA President Stuart Waldman. "I can’t say if we’re going to be the lead opponent. I’m hopeful that other business groups and retailers join us in opposing the measure."

Wesson and City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana have pushed the tax hike, saying it will avert cuts to public safety. But all four major mayoral candidates -- City Controller Wendy Greuel, former prosecutor Kevin James and council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry -- have come out against it.

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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

twitter\davidzahniser

Photo: Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson. Credit: Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times

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