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Villaraigosa: City Needs Higher Taxes

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Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa seems to give up on L.A.'s deficit in an NPR interview, blaming a supposed inability to raise taxes for our fiscal mess.

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Details from an L.A. Weekly writeup:

In an interview with National Public Radio published over the weekend, the two-thirds vote it takes to increase sales taxes was a top peeve: "California cities are constrained by various propositions which limit your ability to raise revenues," Villaraigosa told NPR's Guy Raz....

But as the Weekly points out, that hasn't stopped him before...not that past tax hikes have helped with the core of our fiscal troubles:


Los Angeles County has a sales tax that is among the highest in the state (8.75 percent) chiefly because Villaraigosa himself campaigned for a half-cent increase in sales tax in 2008. Amazingly, it was successful, and Measure R passed with more than the requisite two-thirds vote.

But does that countywide tax contribute to the city's general fund? Not primarily. The expected $40 billion windfall will go to building out the region's transit infrastructure, including light rail and, most importantly, Villaraigosa's legacy project, a "subway to the sea."....

Some might even say Villaraigosa's recently approved proposal to begin increasing Department of Water and Power fees six percent is somewhat of a tax increase.

And in the end, hizzoner just sort of throws up his hands:

Villaraigosa said he's out of options for patching up the deficit. Despite calls for thousands of layoffs, department closures and other budget-tightening measures..."There aren't a lot of options here," he said. "We have contracts with our employees that we have to abide by. So unless they agree to sharing in the sacrifice in these tough times, I won't have a lot of options."

The full NPR interview.

City of Angles blogging from November on Villaraigosa's rail plans.

The image associated with this post was taken by Flickr user Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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