The Los Angeles City Council drew fire from business owners and unions Tuesday after pushing for tax increases to be placed on a March ballot next year and calling for a raise in the retirement age for new employees.
According to the Los Angeles Times
, council members voted 12-to-1 to explore the proposals in a desperate attempt to offset a budget deficit that could top more than a quarter of a billion dollars next year.
Councilman Paul Krekorian, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, said that without an increase in revenue the city would be required to make cuts to its police and fire departments.
The proposals include doubling a city tax rate on property sales, raising the parking occupancy tax from 10 to 15 percent, and raising the retirement age for new city employees to 67. Pensions would also be capped at 75 percent of an employee's salary.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana said the pension reform proposal would save the city $3 billion over 30 years.
Union leaders threatened political repercussions if the council proceeds with the pension reforms.
James Johnson, a representative for the local Service Employees International Union vowed to fight the proposal, saying, “If [the city] wants a war we did not start, let's get it on.”
Business groups also slammed the potential tax increases over concerns that it would drive companies out of the city and further depress the real estate market.
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