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LA City Council Votes To Put Sales Tax Hike To Voters

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday tentatively voted to place a proposed sales tax increase before voters next year.

KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports if approved by voters in March, the tax hike is project to help limit layoffs to the city’s police and fire departments.

The measure – which is expected to generate some $200 million in revenue to protect city services – squeaked by in a 10-4 vote, but the Council will have to vote again in one week after it failed to garner unanimous support.

If approved by the Council, voters would then decide whether to raise the sales tax rate from 8.75 percent to 9.25 percent, giving Los Angeles one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation.

Three other proposed taxes related to parking, home sales and properties were pushed back to committee for further study.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana had original proposed a property transfer tax, but that was met with staunch opposition from real estate industry leaders.

Council President Herb Wesson, who championed the half-cent tax increase, said the vote passed despite efforts by industry lobbyists to deter council members from voting in favor of it.

“They were trying to come to a compromise,” Wesson said.

But opponents like Councilman Mitch Englander said the city should get its own financial house in order before asking taxpayers to shoulder more of the burden.

“We’ve gotta show credibility, transparency, accountability,” said Englander.

A second vote will be taken at City Hall sometime next week.

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