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L.A. election: Villaraigosa's sales tax behind in early voting

March 5, 2013 |  9:52 pm

PHOTOS: Los Angeles voters go to the polls

A measure to add a half-cent to the city’s sales tax lagged in early voting returns Tuesday.

The increase, Proposition A, would bring sales taxes in Los Angeles to 9.5%, one of the highest rates in the state, and raise $200 million a year for the city treasury. The measure, which trailed in an early count of write-in ballots, received ardent support from Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and a belated endorsement from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who will leave office July 1 after the maximum two terms.

LIVE RESULTS: Los Angeles primary election

The measure’s fate will have a major impact on the decisions and policies of the new mayor and City Council, who will face budget deficits projected at $216 million a year and more.

City budget analysts have warned that the tax’s failure could lead to cutbacks in police and fire service, and make it more difficult for the next mayor to balance income and spending.  But critics, including all of the leading candidates to replace Villaraigosa, argued that Los Angeles should balance its books without asking taxpayers for more money.

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--Phil Willon

Photo: Olga Korn, 86, walked to the Encino Self Storage on Ventura Boulevard to cast her vote on Tuesday. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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