L.A. Should Hike Sales Tax to Pay for Street Repairs, Report Says

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L.A.’s elected officials should put a half-cent sales tax hike on the November ballot to pay for repairs of the worst streets and sidewalks, two top policy analysts said Tuesday.


Los Angeles Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller, left, and City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana are recommending a tax hike to pay for road repairs. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller recommended a tax hike that would generate $4.5 billion over 15 years — $3.86 billion for roads and potentially $640 million for broken and buckled sidewalks.

The proposal is contained in a report that examined a variety of strategies for generating the money needed to address a major repair backlog. City elected officials originally considered a bond measure — which would be paid with increased property taxes. But the two policy advisors said that strategy wouldn’t generate enough money.

A sales tax hike, the report said, also would be paid by a greater number of people who use L.A.’s streets, including those who live outside city limits. “An important message communicated by participants of public outreach meetings has been that the [street repair program] not be solely financed by property owners,” the two men wrote.

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