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Friday, February 01, 2013

Downtown Chamber et al Backs Sales Tax Increase; VICA Says No

Last line of defense
against Herb Wesson?

VICA's Stuart Waldman
Well, duh.

VICA, though it has it's moments, is one of the last of the true business advocacy organizations out there.

Those "business" organizations that are supporting the sales tax increase pushed by Council President Herb Wesson (doesn't he represent a low income district?), giving the City one of the highest sales tax rates in the country, are part of the downtown cabal that have joined in a symbiotic and blood sucking relationship along with developers, out of town banks & corporations with a presence in Downtown LA, "community" organizations, unions, politicians and the "affordable housing" lobby to make sure each of them get their own crack at any combination of the following:

  • Money.
  • The ability to bed attractive lobbyists, staffers, commission members, whomever has something in exchange.
  • Invitations to great cocktail parties, sporting events, awards shows, etc.

Sales tax, one of the most regressive forms of taxation, disproportionately impacting the poor and devastates small business. This particular increase would hit hard on communities like Sunland-Tujunga, North Hollywood, Venice, etc. that all border on cities with lower tax rates and where consumers can easily travel a few blocks to save some cash.

The Downtown interests, in this case driven by the real estate industry, want to shift this tax burden to consumers. Where is Occupy LA when you need them?

VICA presser after the jump...

VICA Opposes City of L.A. Proposition A on March 5 ballot

SHERMAN OAKS, Calif.—The Los Angeles business community is split over support of a half-cent sales tax increase on the March 5, 2013 ballot. The Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA) continues to be the leading business organization to oppose the tax increase.

Measure A, the “Neighborhood Public Safely and Vital City Services Funding and Accountability Measure” would impose a higher sales tax on the residents, businesses and visitors of Los Angeles. The VICA board agreed that raising the sales tax rate was unwise during these economically tumultuous times.

“There is no question that the City of Los Angeles’ budget needs help,” said Stuart Waldman President of VICA. “Imposing one of the highest sales tax rates in the county in a struggling economy is not the answer. It is bad for the city, bad for the economy, and bad for business.”

This week, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Los Angeles Business Council both announced their support for the sales tax increase.

The VICA board expressed concern that the City Council had not exhausted all options to bring in revenue and cut costs. It recommended that, in lieu of the half-cent sales tax increase which was placed on the March 2013 ballot by the Los Angeles City Council this week, the city look to other means of revenue. These options include privatizing the Los Angeles Zoo and Los Angeles Convention Center; streamlining the city’s building and permitting process; collecting unpaid taxes; and permitting the replacement of billboards with digitized signs that generate more revenue for both businesses and the city.

“VICA believes that the city has many options to bring in the necessary revenue to stop cuts to public safety,” said VICA Chairman David Adelman. “We have offered up several alternative solutions that do not include raising taxes on Los Angeles businesses and consumers.”

Just recently, the City Council missed the opportunity to generate $30 million in revenue when they chose to adopt an exclusive franchise system among waste haulers. “Rather than adopting the non-exclusive franchise system as recommended by VICA, the City Council opted to vote for a system that will drive waste haulers across the city out of Los Angeles and cost residents and businesses more money for collection,” said Adelman.

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