Supervisors Vote to Put Sales Tax Hike on March Ballot to Help Homeless

New County Board of Supervisors. From left:
Sheila Kuehl, Hilda Solis, Janice Hahn, Kathryn
Barger, Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The installation of two new County Supervisors December 5 broke a stalemate that had kept the divided board from moving ahead to seek major long-term funding for homeless services. City voters November 8 passed Proposition HHH, a $1.2 billion bond issue to pay to buy or construct 10,000 units of permanent supportive housing for the chronic homeless, about 13,000 of the countywide total of almost 47,000. Without case management and supportive services this difficult population, many of whom suffer from mental illness or substance abuse problems, cannot be gotten off the streets. The 5-member board on December 6 voted unanimously to place a quarter-cent sales tax increase on the March ballot. This will boost the tax from 9.25 percent to 9.5 percent.

The board had voted on the same issue last July, but the measure was defeated by opposition from Supervisors Mike Antonovich and Don Knabe. These two termed out and were replaced by former Congressperson Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger. This time the vote in favor was unanimous. The tax increase would expire after ten years. It requires two-thirds support to pass.

There was an unusual level of support for the measure. The supervisors received more than 2,000 letters of support, and more than 100 people spoke during public comment, most in favor of the tax. The meeting was attended by City Council members Jose Huizar, Gil Cedillo, and Marqueece Harris-Dawson, all supporting the tax. Huizar told radio station KPCC, "When we asked voters what their most important issue is, poll after poll came back with homelessness. It costs us more, one way or another, if we leave these folks on the street."

 

The sales tax increase would be expected to generate about $355 million a year. Full implementation of the county's February 2016 homeless plan would cost about $450 million. The supervisors hope the difference can be made up from the county's general fund.

Meetings


St. Joseph Center/First To Serve, Broadway Manchester Access Center, 8525 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90003

The SPA6 Homeless Coalition meets usually on the second Friday of every month. Our regular meetings are held from 10:00 to 12:00 pm.  

Due to the coronavirus we are not holding meetings in person, but are holding them by remote video (Zoom). Our Friday, September 11, 2020, meeting will be held by Zoom at 10:00 am. Details below: