It looks like the good folks of Los Angeles are about to get their pockets picked again, and unfortunately, that’s just what they want. The city that overwhelmingly voted to tax itself into one of the most highly taxed cities in the nation are the same ones that voted to tax themselves at the state and federal levels as well. Now a new measure will be on the ballot with the coming mayoral election, a permanent tax increase that if history is any indicator, should pass fairly easily.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana came out with a report that uses the same scare tactics that every politician uses when they want your money. If you don’t pony up, the first thing that gets cut is police and fire. We have that once again with Santana, championing Proposition A, that would impose a 1/2 cent sales tax increase on Angelenos. This is on top of the state sales tax increase approved by voters in November. Santana warns that if this permanent sales tax is not enacted, at least 500 cops could get pink slips. Keep in mind that Los Angeles already has one of the smallest police forces per capita in the country. When you get a load of the sprawling layout in this area, that number looks even more dire.
Of all the things that could be cut in a bloated, socialist bureaucracy, why pick on cops? Aren’t there other, less important positions that could be eliminated? Yes there are, but unfortunately, those folks belong to the SEIU, to the tune of 10,000 members. They wield such power in Los Angeles politics that City Councilman Herb Wesson has asked them to get behind prop A. A little arm twisting never hurt anybody.
In an effort to stave off almost sure bankruptcy, Santana has also proposed a clean water fee for homeowners as well as cutting new hires salaries 20 percent. That second proposal did not go over well with the SEIU.
Ian Thompson, spokesman for SEIU Local 721, said the City Council should reject Santana’s plan to cut the starting salaries of new hires. Thompson accused Santana of trying to send city workers “back to 1928, when only the super-rich had benefits and a decent standard of living.”
Keep in mind that Los Angeles is on the verge of bankruptcy, and there are already cities in California that have gone under because they couldn’t continue to bankroll union benefits either. So if the city refuses to address the bloat and the SEIU won’t play ball, that leaves one alternative: Bleed the taxpayer a little more. Of course, that pool of taxpayers gets smaller every year, and just a cursory look will reveal that this path is unsustainable.
But, like Antonio Villaraigosa, this current crop of politicians are just looking to either pad their wallets in a way we’ll never know about, or paper over an inevitable collapse long enough to get out of town. That’s what Villaraigosa did. This town is going to hell and he won’t get blamed for any of it. On the contrary, he was rewarded. Not for the content of his character though…
Angelenos are likely to hit themselves with another tax increase that will not solve the fundamental problem: Spending. Prop A is to make sure the spending will continue, and the SEIU wouldn’t have it any other way. Their pals in city government might whine a little, but in the end, the unions will get what they want. This is California, the unions usually do get what they want.