L.A. County Measure H Raises Sales Tax on the Poor to Pay for Homeless

homeless encampment L.A. RICHARD VOGELAP

Los Angeles County supporters of Measure H announced they have received $3.5 million in contributions toward raising sales taxes on America’s poorest residents to pay for America’s largest homeless population.

Measure H would increase sales taxes by ¼ percent to nine percent in most cities in LA County, but several higher taxed cities would hit the state maximum of 10 percent. Being the only issue on the March 7 ballot, Measure H would need a 2/3 approval to pass.

It comes just four months after the City of Los Angeles passed Measure HHH by 77 percent that raised property taxes by $9.64 per $100,000 of assessed valuation to pay for a $1.2 billion bond to fund housing for homeless people, people at risk of becoming homeless, and to fund facilities that provide mental health care, addiction treatment, and other services.

The biggest driver for the supposed homeless crisis in L.A. County has been a decade of legal settlements with homeless advocates by cities in L.A. County that forbid arresting and/or ticketing homeless people for sleeping in public or leaving their belongings on the streets under the U.S. Constitution’s 8th Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment [Jones v. City of Los Angeles]. Homeless people can now legally camp out on most California city sidewalks from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. each night.

Both Los Angeles City Measure HHH and Los Angeles County Measure H are supposed to get the homeless off the streets and into shelters. But unlike the Los Angeles City ballot initiative that was very specific about how the proceeds would be spent, the County initiative uses generalities and makes no specific commitment to the allocations of funds.

South Los Angeles resident Larry Buford commented in the YourNews blog that spending on Measure H promises to be for coordinated outreach, case management, homelessness prevention, preservation of existing housing, and income support. But he emphasizes there is no clear detail about how any of the money will be spent.

Buford complains that he lives near a recently completed homeless shelter that lacks adequate parking and is destroying his community. He claims Measure H is really just money for affordable housing. “There seems to be a triangle of deception at play between City Hall, the Los Angeles Planning Commission, and property developers,” he said.

California counties count their homeless each year. In the latest report published in May 2016 by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, 5,500 volunteers found a nation-high 41,174 LA County homeless persons in 2015, up six percent from the prior year. The sheltered homeless population was 12,226, with over twice as many more unsheltered.

Despite Measure H supposedly providing a full continuum of services to rehabilitate the homeless, the latest Los Angeles Homeless Count cited in large letters that a ‘Lack of Affordable Housing’ was a key factor for the 750,000 low-income households that exist in Los Angeles and Orange counties and the Inland Empire.

Breitbart News has reported extensively about the California middle class, especially from Los Angeles County, leaving the state to escape high taxes and crummy economic opportunity. They have been replaced by about one million illegal aliens that report being attracted by entitlement benefits. This explains why the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area was rated by the Census Bureau as having the nation’s highest poverty rate.

The County of Los Angeles commissioned a study last May that found the highest ballot support for a tax increase, 81 percent of voters favoring a millionaires’ tax that most would not pay. But already suffering a tax base flight, the county settled on a sales tax initiative that had 68 percent support and might be invisible in a low-voter turnout Mach 7 election.


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