Los Angeles County doesn’t have to burn more cash with tax hike on the ballot – Daily News

Boxes containing 410,000 signatures for the Affordable Housing, Homelessness Solutions and Prevention Now initiative are stacked on a truck at the LA County Recorders office Tuesday, May 7, 2024. The Affordable Housing, Homelessness Solutions and Prevention Now initiative needed 238,922 valid signatures to get on the November 2024 ballot. (Photo by David Crain, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Thanks to filings by the Government Sector Service Workers union and a coalition of construction workers unions, a sales tax increase that would benefit those union members appears headed for the November election in Los Angeles County.

Of course, when you see it on the ballot, it won’t be called a “raise for the people who paid for this proposal” initiative. Its supporters call it “Affordable Housing, Homelessness Solutions and Prevention Now.”

The initiative would double and extend Measure H, the sales tax passed by LA County voters in 2017. Measure H was a ten-year sales tax increase of 0.25%. This initiative replaces it permanently with a 0.5% sales tax increase and directs the funds to organizations and union members who pay for the initiative.

The text of the event promises “bold new action” to solve it all. It will “get people off the streets and into their homes faster.” This will prevent homelessness. It will “provide more mental health and substance abuse treatment.” This will “increase the availability of affordable housing”.

Yes, round up Dr. Huckster’s Medicine Show in your mailbox or voting center this fall, assuming he has enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. Every problem, every difficulty, every crisis that keeps you up at night will be fixed with the contents of this one little bottle of Dr. Huckster’s latest cure-all tax hike.

The California Constitution states that raising local taxes for a specific purpose requires the approval of two-thirds of the voters, 66.67%. Measure H passed 69.34% after Los Angeles County illegally spent nearly $1 million of your tax dollars on the campaign. The county later agreed to a $1.35 million fine to settle charges of violating campaign finance laws.

Fortunately for Dr. Huckster, there is now a loophole created by state courts that makes it much easier to raise taxes.

Under this judicial interpretation of the state constitution, local tax increases proposed by “citizens” are exempt from the two-thirds requirement. This is known as the “Upland” loophole, named after the 2017 state Supreme Court decision in California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland. The Citizens Initiative tax increase now passes a 50% plus one vote, even though an identical measure would need 66.67% to pass if it were brought to a vote by the County Board of Supervisors, City Council or other governmental body. .

The result of this unbridled judicial interference with your constitutional taxpayer protections is a Wild West landscape in which special interest groups can write tax increases, pay for themselves, pay to collect signatures to get it on the ballot, pay for a campaign. Spoiling the electorate and taking the measure by a simple majority instead of the two-thirds vote required by the Constitution.

Dr. Huxter couldn’t be happier if he was taking the original Coca-Cola formula.

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