Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday took the first step toward placing a proposed sales tax increase on the March 2013 municipal ballot.
The proposed hike would raise the amount of sales tax collected in the city from 8 ¾% to 9 ¼%.
That would mirror what the city of Santa Monica currently charges, but would be lower than the sales tax in cities such as Burbank and Pasadena.
Los Angeles City Councilman says the proposed tax should be viewed as an investment in the city’s cash strapped services.
“So, what we have to do is stand up and say here is a menu, Los Angeles here are things you can choose to invest in Los Angeles,” LaBonge said at Wednesday’s city council meeting.
The tax is opposed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who said more budget-trimming measures should be taken before levies are raised.
But the proposal is a way to raise revenue that is popular with governments.
Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking an increase with Proposition 30, Los Angeles County is seeking an extension of an increase for mass transit, and scores of other cities in the state are attempting to raise their sales tax as well.
“There are 24 cities looking to raise taxes, we will see what happens to them next week,” Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson told the NBC4 News.
But Councilman Dennis Zine, who opposes the measure, said a tax hike now is ill timed.
“You need to privatize the convention center, the zoo, before raising taxes," Zine said. "Businesses are hurting.”