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Supervisors vote to place park tax measure on ballot

Posted: August 5, 2014 4:10 p.m.
Updated: August 5, 2014 4:12 p.m.

Citing a desire to keep the green going for county park and recreation projects, Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to put a 30-year “parks tax” on the ballot in November.

If placed on the ballot and passed by voters, the tax of $23 a parcel per year on county properties would begin next year and run for 30 years, according to county documents.

County property owners are already charged park taxes under a pair of items known as Proposition A — one passed in 1992 and the other approved in 1996.

County officials call Proposition A a “tremendous success.” “Hundreds of park, recreation, beach, open space, museum, senior citizen and at-risk youth facilities have been bought, built, renovated and expanded in every area of the county” with Prop A money

The 1992 assessment is scheduled to expire next year, according to the board item.

“I don’t think they (residents) want to see this come to a grinding halt on June 30 of this coming year,” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said.

The new tax, if passed by voters, would “give county voters the opportunity to continue taxing themselves for the same amount of money — $53 million per year — for park and recreation purposes,” according to the board agenda item.

But Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who voted against the item, said in a written statement that the public was not provided adequate time to review the proposal and described it as an “‘end run’ around the taxpayer’s right to participate in the process.”

“With less than two business days’ notice and with no public outreach, input or discussion, this 30-year tax will add $23 per parcel to property tax bills throughout the county — on top of current parks taxes,” Antonovich said in his written statement.

Antonovich questioned why the new tax would be a flat one, pointing out that the existing Proposition A taxes can vary.

There are also more than $100 million in existing Proposition A funds that have not yet been allocated, according to Antonovich.

“Parks are a vital component to enhancing the quality of life for our county residents,” he said. “However, the voters should not be taxed again until there is a plan to spend all the unallocated revenues and a proposal specifying the need for additional revenue.”
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