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L.A. County to Consider Tax Hike for Clean Water Programs

County property owners received mailers this week on a proposed tax measure to cover costs for improving water quality and reducing pollution.

A Los Angeles County supervisor this week urged people to learn about a proposed fee to pay for clean water programs.

"This is a tax increase proposal,'' Supervisor Michael Antonovich said, warning that the piece looks like junk mail. "Don't throw it away.''

The Clean Water, Clean Beaches Measure tells property owners how much each would pay annually and a form for objecting to the idea.

A typical single-family homeowner would pay about $54 on average and condominium owners $20 or less, according to Phil Doudar, project manager for the initiative. About 90 percent of parcel owners would likely pay less than $100, though large commercial property owners could pay thousands of dollars.

If approved, property owners would be charged an annual fee to cover costs associated with improving water quality and reducing pollution from urban runoff.

Department of Public Works Director Gail Farber warned earlier this year that county waterways are choked with trash, infection-causing bacteria, toxic chemicals, lead, copper and other metals, oil and grease.

As proposed, the measure would raise about $276 million annually to be split between Los Angeles County's Flood Control District, nine watershed areas set up to manage cleanup projects and the rest of the cities that make up the county.

The Flood Control District spent an estimated $340 million to control pollutants in fiscal year 2010-11, according to Farber, who has estimated the cost of complying with existing water-quality regulations to be in the billions of dollars.

But Antonovich and Supervisor Don Knabe objected to what they called atax on residents, saying funding should come from the federal or state government.

Antonovich and Knabe voted against the proposal in July, arguing that it should be put to voters in a future election rather than to property owners via a mail-in ballot.

"It really is disingenuous,'' Knabe said today. "Clearly the intent of  this piece of mail is to look like junk mail.''

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who backs the measure -- the result of years of consensus building between municipalities and environmentalists -- disagreed, saying it looks much like rate increase notices from local utilities.

The notice is just the first step in the approval process.

A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for Jan. 15 during the board's regular weekly meeting at 9:30 a.m.

If a majority of property owners protest the fee in writing before the end of that meeting, the fee will not be imposed.

If a majority do not object, a ballot would be mailed to property owners. And if a majority of ballots returned are in favor of the measure, the fee would be charged.

More information is available at www.lacountycleanwater.org.

Eric December 08, 2012 at 12:52 AM
You're coming across as the fool, Michael. Apparently you can't even read the chart you've supplied. U-3 shows the unemployment rate in California at 10.8%. Your assertion that unemployment in CA is at 20% is incorrect since you've included part-time workers and those that are not actively looking for employment in that figure. To paraphrase Shakespeare: A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. You seem to fall into the former category.
Michael December 08, 2012 at 12:56 AM
You need to read (and comprehend) the U-6 number.
Eric December 08, 2012 at 01:14 AM
I've read it and completely understand it. The unemployment rate is measured under U-3, "total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (this is the definition used for the official unemployment rate)". Your direct quote is "CA unemployment is 20%", which is incorrect. How can you accuse someone of regurgitating propaganda when you yourself are skewing statistics to try to prove a point?
Gregory Brittain December 08, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Don’t say we didn’t warn you, #17 Brown’s and the Dems’ tax increase is retroactive to January 1, 2012. Passage of Proposition 30 set off euphoria and expectations of higher spending for public employees. The California Teachers’ Association (CTA) trumpeted: ‘California students and working families won a clear victory today as voters clearly demonstrated their willingness to invest in our public schools and colleges and also rejected a deceptive ballot measure aimed at silencing educators, other workers and their unions.’” But, don’t spend the money quite yet. “California State Controller John Chiang has announced that total state revenue for the month of November 2012 fell $806.8 million, or 10.8%, below budget.” “Democrats thought they could hammer ‘the rich’ by convincing voters to pass Proposition 30 to create the highest state income tax in the nation. But it now appears that high income earners have already ‘voted with their feet’ by moving themselves and their businesses out of state, resulting in over $1 billion shortfall in corporate and income taxes last month and the beginning of a new financial crisis.” http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/12/07/CALIFORNIA-STATE-BUDGET-GOES-OFF-THE-CLIFF Let’s all watch and learn from the effects of CA having by far the highest state income tax rates in America.
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