Los Angeles County Supervisors Debate Measure B in Los Angeles Times Opinion Pieces
Los Angeles County Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Michael Antonovich in two Los Angeles Times opinion pieces today debate a measure on the Nov. 5 county ballot that would raise property taxes to fund the county's trauma care centers and emergency rooms (Los Angeles Times, 10/28). Measure B would raise property taxes by three cents per square foot, or an average of $42 per year. The measure also would establish a three-cent per square foot tax on structural improvements; a half-cent per square foot tax on parking improvements; and a tenth of a cent per square foot tax on agricultural, vacant or similar land. County officials expect that the measure would raise about $175 million in additional revenue each year. The county would spend $92 million on emergency rooms, $63 million on 13 public and private trauma centers and $20 million to fight bioterrorism (California Healthline, 10/23). Summaries of the opinion pieces appear below:
- Yaroslavsky: Measure B would "help ensure that our trauma and emergency services will be there if we need them," Yaroslavsky writes. He adds that "modest" cost of the measure "is less a tax than it is a supplement to our health insurance premiums." Yaroslavsky concludes that Measure B offers county voters a "choice: to preserve the county's lifesaving network of trauma and emergency services or hasten the day of its collapse" (Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles Times, 10/28).
- Antonovich: According to Antonovich, Measure B would provide the "wrong medicine" for the county trauma care system. He writes that county residents "already are taxed by the state of California for trauma care services," but the governor and the Legislature have "continued to cut trauma care funding to the county." He writes that Measure B represents "an assault on homeowners, renters, those on fixed incomes, small businesses" and adds that "there is no cap" on future increases to the taxes that the measure would establish. In addition, he writes that "there would be no oversight committee to ensure that taxes collected were spent for trauma care" (Antonovich, Los Angeles Times, 10/28).