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Ending weeks of silence, Villaraigosa backs sales tax hike

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in January. Credit: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has thrown his support behind a half-cent sales tax increase on the March 5 citywide ballot, ending weeks of silence on the topic.

The campaign for Proposition A announced that the mayor will appear with City Council President Herb Wesson and Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck on Monday to speak in favor of the measure, which would erase the vast majority of a $216 million budget shortfall.

Villaraigosa had been withholding his support for the measure until the council moved ahead with key initiatives, including a move to turn management of the city convention center over to a private operator. Proposition A needs a simple majority to pass.

Budget officials have warned that a defeat of Proposition A would likely lead to an array of cuts, including a reduction of 500 officers at the LAPD. Opponents of the measure say the tax hike is needed to help Villaraigosa and the council follow through on overly generous salary agreements with various city employees.


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall


Photo: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in January. Credit: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press

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