The Question: Measure H; The Los Angeles County Plan to Prevent and Combat Homelessness
To fund mental health, substance abuse treatment, health care, education, job training, rental subsidies, emergency and affordable housing, transportation, outreach, prevention, and supportive services for homeless children, families, foster youth, veterans, battered women, seniors, disabled individuals, and other homeless adults, shall voters authorize Ordinance No. 2017-0001 to levy a ¼ cent sales tax for ten years, with independent annual audits and citizens' oversight?
Homelessness is a major problem today in Los Angeles County, both for individuals and for society at large. When reviewing the pros and cons of the proposed Measure H, the League of Women Voters looked to our adopted positions that include support for meeting "basic needs for food, shelter, and access to health care" as well as the need to provide "affordable housing for all Californians." The aims of Los Angeles County Measure H are consistent with these concerns.
Although Measure H uses a sales tax to address the problem of homelessness and the League prefers "an equitable tax system that is progressive overall," and a sales tax is clearly more regressive than progressive, we also believe that government revenues must be sufficient to meet the needs for government services. The sales tax of ¼ cent (e.g., 1¢ on a $4 purchase or $1 on a $400 purchase) for ten years will also include annual independent audits and citizen oversight.
Therefore, the Board of LWV/LACounty voted on February 1, 2017 to support Measure H on the March ballot after considering the size of the tax and recognizing that addressing homelessness is an urgent and present responsibility. We urge all Los Angeles County voters to join us in supporting the county's efforts to reduce homelessness.