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LAPD Chief Warns Layoffs Likely If Voters Reject Sales Tax Hike

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A proposed vote next year on a half-cent sales tax increase could affect more than just the city’s finances, according to a dire warning from the head of the Los Angeles Police Department.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports talk of a proposed tax increase comes just days after voters approved a statewide sales tax.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times that as many as 500 officers would likely be laid off if the city does not generate an estimated $200 million in revenue.

Beck told the Times his department was already unable to hire additional 911 operators and other LAPD positions and is expected to lose up to 160 secretaries, clerk typists and other civilian workers next year due to budget cuts.

Earlier this week, the City Council signaled its support for placing the measure before voters next March.

However, critics of the proposed tax increase say voters may not be so eager to approve another tax hike after the passage of Proposition 30 – a statewide tax increase – on Tuesday.

Chief City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that Angelenos need to realize that any revenue from Prop. 30 will go to Sacramento and not to City Hall.

“The taxes we’re proposing will go straight into our city to support our public safety program,” said Santana. “The chief has made it clear he cannot maintain the current safety levels without new revenue….people are willing to support new taxes as long as they stay local.”

Despite efforts to reduce the city’s budget deficit and workforce by 5,000 jobs over the last three years – what Santana called “Tom Bradley levels” – he emphasized that voters will face a difficult decision next year.

“Are they willing to support new taxes to maintain the same level of public safety?” he asked.

City Council members are expected to decide on which tax proposals will make the March 5 ballot by Nov. 14.

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