L.A. CITY HALL: Los Angeles City Council, final approval, 11-4 vote to place one-half cent sales tax increase on March ballot, Mayor Villaraigosa sign-off on measure still pending....****UPDATED: Villaraigosa statement, mayor will return measure to council without signature, seeking new set of reforms....
* Daily News: "Los Angeles City Council puts sales tax measure before voters" - From the DN:
Warning that the Los Angeles Police Department would have lay off police officers without new revenues, the Los Angeles City Council voted today to place a half-percent sales tax increase before voters on March 5.
The council, in an 11-4 vote, agreed to submit the tax hike to voters, if Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signs off on the measure. It would need a simple majority of voters to approve the measure, which would increase the sales tax to 9.5 percent on all goods sold in L.A.
. . . . [F]ormer Mayor Richard Riordan, who is pushing a pension reform measure, urged the council to vote against the tax increase. "What Los Angeles needs is more jobs, not more taxes," Riordan said.
Members voting against the proposal included Council members Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry, who are running for mayor, and Councilman Dennis Zine, who is running for city controller. Also opposed was Councilman Mitch Englander. Perry and Zine said they did not believe now was a good time to raise taxes and there are other areas in which the city can save money.
***UPDATED: Partial text of Villaraigosa press release:
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced today that he will return without signature a City Council election ordinance to place a half-cent sales tax increase on the March 5, 2013 ballot:
"I will not ask the people of Los Angeles to support higher taxes until the City Council makes progress on a set of new reforms that will make us more efficient, accountable and competitive. We must tie new revenue to new reforms.
“I have proposed a series of measures that will reduce the size of our workforce, embrace new public-private partnerships, and streamline city services. Council President Wesson has indicated a desire to move forward on this reform agenda.
“Now is the time to make the tough choices to reduce our long-term structural deficit. I will be directing the CAO to prepare a budget by January based on present realities, not the hope of new revenue. We will continue to make the hard calls to protect public safety while balancing our budget."