Tax Shenanigans In Los Angeles

Everyone is focused on the presidential primaries in several states next Tuesday, but Los Angeles voters also will cast their votes on a local tax issue — whether to make a nominal cut in the telephone tax (from the current 10 percent down to 9 percent) but apply it to new technologies.

The liberal Los Angeles Times thinks the tax cut is a “clever” but tolerable gimmick when the real goal — or revenue necessity, according to the Times — is to keep money flowing to the city by tweaking tax law.

But the rival Los Angeles Daily News has the smarter take on this tax debate:

Rattle, rattle! That clanging sound you hear is Los Angeles city leaders shaking their tin cups, pleading poverty and warning of dark, dark times to come. It must be election season, with a tax hike on the ballot. Because when politicians warn of tight budgets, they only want one thing — more.

… City Hall wants you to think that if you don’t approve an inestimably huge tax hike on all telecommunications devices, there will be no more cops, no more library books, no more fire service, no more Mom or apple pie.

Of course, no one suggests that if Measure S fails, we’ll get no more pay raises for city workers that average 7.5 percent a year, no more subsidies for downtown hotels, no more ignoring … audits that could save L.A. millions. Those are City Hall’s sacred cows — not the services that taxpayers pay for.

Which is all the more reason voters should ignore city leaders’ poor-mouthing and scare-mongering — and vote no on Measure S. Only this measure’s defeat will force City Hall to actually go to work and stop overspending.

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