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Prop P Cheat Sheet: L.A. County Parks and Open Spaces Tax

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Prop P would continue funding projects like Prop A has since the '90s. Descanso Gardens, pictured here, received some of that funding.
Prop P would continue funding projects like Prop A has since the '90s. Descanso Gardens, pictured here, received some of that funding. Photo: jdwheaton/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Proposition P will appear on Los Angeles County voters' Nov. 4, 2014, ballot.

In 1992, Los Angeles County voters approved a tax to fund a wide variety of projects for parks and open spaces. The measure, Proposition A, raised $52 million a year to pay for things like converting land to parks, planting trees, and building restrooms, nature centers, and trails. But it expires this June.

Prop P aims to replace Prop A -- and boost its funds to $54 million annually -- with a new parks tax that would last for 30 years. It would levy a $23 tax to individual parcels of land regardless of their square-footage, replacing Prop A's property tax assessment.

The money would go toward a diversity of uses for parks and open space, including renovating beaches, developing river trails and dog parks, cleaning streams, repairing gyms and playing fields, and acquiring land, as well as gang prevention, after school and summer programs, and developing senior centers.

Prop P needs a two-thirds majority to pass.

How the Money Breaks Down

The $54 million would be annually divided equally among the five county supervisor districts, who would administer the money through a competitive grant process. The measure only breaks down into general categories how the funds would be spent:

  • 30 percent to regional open space, for maintaining and developing trails, and protecting mountains, rivers, wetlands, and streams
  • 20 percent to neighborhood parks, for parks and art projects to maintain or improve fields, gyms, playgrounds and restrooms
  • 15 percent to beaches and water, for clean water projects in beaches and parks
  • 15 percent to maintain parks, for maintenance or improvement of existing or future parks
  • 10 percent to parks in disadvantaged communities, for increasing parks, open space and recreational opportunities in underprivileged areas
  • 5 percent to competitive grants available to nonprofit and public agencies, for organizations that work with youth or seniors, plant trees, prevent graffiti, or increase public access to rivers and streams
  • 5 percent for administrative costs

Key Points:
Prop P would levy an annual $23 tax on parcels of land for 30 years

It would raise $54 million a year to be used on renovating, preserving, and acquiring parks and open spaces

It would replace a tax for the same purposes which expires in June

What Your Vote Means:

A YES vote means property owners will be taxed $23 annually for 30 years

A YES vote means the $54 million raised annually will fund the renovation, preservation and acquisition of parks and open spaces

A YES vote means the Prop P tax will replace a 20-year old parks tax that expires this June

A NO vote means property owners will not be taxed $23 annually for 30 years for parks and open spaces

Principal Supporters:
Jackie Lacey, L.A. County district attorney
Richard Lichtenstein, Greater L.A. Zoo Association co-chair
Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. County supervisor
Rev. Gregory J. Boyle, Homeboy Industries founder

Principal Opponents:
Bishop Henry Hearns, former Lancaster mayor
Sandra E. Thomas, former state director of NAACP
Mike Spence, West Covina city councilman

Click here for full text of the measure.

NOTE: The author of this post -- not the proponents of each measure -- selected the aforementioned key points for each ballot measure. They do not represent all of the provisions detailed in Prop P, rather they are intended to offer the salient details.

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