L.A. County Wants to Impose Local Income Tax

Photo courtesy of channone, flickr

Photo courtesy of channone, flickr

Members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have suggested an income tax on millionaires dedicating the money for homelessness relief. Opening the door for local governments to impose income taxes would erode the state’s major fund raising mechanism, burden taxpayers with more paperwork, hit small businesses whose owners pay business taxes through personal income taxes, and subject more government revenue to a highly volatile revenue source. All in all a bad idea.

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Last week, when Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed the bill that would have permitted local governments to levy cigarette taxes, he complained that there already are too many taxes on the coming ballot. A push for an income tax would increase the volume of tax measures facing voters.

Yesterday, the L.A. Board of Supervisors put off for one week a motion to ask county lobbyists to try and convince legislators to change the law that prohibits local jurisdictions from imposing an income tax.

Still, Pandora’s Box on local income taxes has been cracked open. If the movement persists the consequences can be great.

The proposal to levy local income taxes comes at a time that a statewide effort to extend the Proposition 30 state income tax levies is on-going. California’s top income taxpayers already pay the highest income tax rate in the country.

L.A. County wants to pile on.

The L.A. County supervisors think they have a winning proposal. The press release announcing the effort said a poll showed 76 percent support. Advocates of the idea will point to 14 states that give permission for some local governments to raise income taxes. Of course, it’s always easy for those polled to say they are willing to raise taxes on someone else.

But what happens when there is an economic downturn? I dealt with that concern for the state last week considering the possibility of a Shakespearean Tragedy for the State Budget.  Looks like the locals want to stage a similar play.

When I write locals, I mean more than Los Angeles. If the Legislature decides to change the restrictions on local governments imposing an income tax, does anyone think other jurisdictions will sit ideally by? Los Angeles County supervisors say they want the money to help the homeless. There are a lot of other interests in communities around the state that consider the causes they believe in worthy of more economic help.

But, what about the taxpayers?

How long before local taxpayers who continue to get hit with increased tax rates throw up their hands and give up on Los Angeles and California? The burden continues to grow. Proposition 30 was sold as a temporary tax for seven years. Perhaps many high-end income taxpayers said they would weather the storm. However, those taxpayers are now looking at an additional twelve years of the highest income tax rate in the country BEFORE local governments jump on that gravy train.

In the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) poll of members issued last week, the number one concern for small business owners was the income tax.

Before anyone thinks the push for new taxes is only about the rich consider what likely might occur if government budgets relying on increased income tax revenue are hard hit during a recession or economic slowdown.

I remember reading about the Midwest congressman who announced on the floor of the House of Representatives in the early years of the 20th Century that he was voting for the amendment to the United States Constitution that would establish an income tax because his constituents wouldn’t pay the new tax. It was aimed at the rich.

The income tax eventually came after his constituents, too.

Originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily


  1. I knew something was wrong when I learned that secretaries working for LA City were making 40% more than I was teaching Chemistry in LS City Schools. It has only gotten worse, I am sure…

    Google “Two Minute Conservative” for more.

  2. Soon all the 1% rich will be paying most of their money in taxes. Is it any wonder and companies and the rich are fleeing Ca? Is it any wonder and companies and people are working offshore. Locating their business headquarters over seas to avoid that tax to death mentality of govt at all levels. When the real financial problems are out of control govt spending at all levels. I have read that many Ca govt employees can retire at 55 with nearly full pay. And benefits to boot. Why not 65-70 like the rest of us? And on Social Security like the rest of us. The whole damned country is going to come crashing down and then what? I just can’t fathom how this is not understood and a demand for drastic changes before it is too late for all us. Including govt employees. http://www.usdebtclock.org/ This should scare the Hell out all of us. Media pay attention because you enable govt to keep up this destruction.

  3. The LYING POLITICIANS always say it’s a tax JUST ON THE RICH, (always excluding themselves). Then they morph it to lower and lower income levels because not every community or county has RICH people.

    Make the tax START with a INCOME FREEZE on ALL politicians and THEN raise the taxes on the “rich” while NOT exempting the politicians.

    That tax will NEVER see a vote on the floor of the house or the senate. Politicians only use OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY …… never their own.

  4. Some industries will move. Maybe not across state lines but away from LA county. example could be the movie industry.

  5. TheRandyGuy says

    All this talk about taxes, and not a word about the spending. The spending drives the need for tax dollars, not the other way around. As long as the pols keep spending without restraint, just get ready to pay up. And as long as you keep electing the same subhumans to government, the spending won’t stop (cue public employee unions….). We get the government we deserve.

  6. If you only know what this money was really for you’d be shocked . When the supervisors talk about the homeless……..they show you pix of all those living on the streets. They will even show you videos of the homeless being interviewed. But this money isn’t used for therm. This money is used for welfare recipients/applicants who are currently getting cash aid or potentially eligible to cash aid…….ie; 20 yr old comes into the welfare office and applies for the homeless program; “me and my mom argue too much so she’s kicking me and my baby out of the house” – she gets the 14 day motel voucher ; motel owners, mangers fills out paper(gets kickback)then this person claiming homeless gets thousands to move in to an apartment or house. First month’s last month’s rent plus move in expenses as well as refrigerator and stove – and really all the while may not have truly moved at all and is now happily arguing shopping with her mom and baby in tow.

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