Possible sales-tax hike for transit services

LOS ANGELES (KABC) The MTA has suggested a 0.5 percent increase in the county's sales tax to increase spending on transit programs.

"Congestion costs us $12 billion a year in Los Angeles County. It is a huge drain on our economy and it's a drag, everybody agrees," said Denny Zane of Move. L.A.

"If we don't look for more revenue sources, including possibly a sales tax, to invest in more public transit, if we don't bring hosing closer to jobs - if we don't do all of those things, we won't be able to impact," said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

But with Angelenos already paying the highest sales tax rate in the state at 8.25 percent, many oppose the idea of paying more.

"We're in a high-tax state, and we're in a high-tax county in a high-tax city, and we can't really afford any more," said Kris Vosburg, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

"Absolutely not. No increase in sales tax at all," said one man.

"Traffic is the number one problem. Everyone complains. The polls are showing, I believe, that people are willing to chip in to solve the problem," said County Supervisor Yvonne Burke.

In an exclusive Eyewitness News poll conducted by Survey USA, 500 L.A. County adults were asked if they favored raising the sales tax by a half-cent to pay for transportation projects. 52 percent said yes, 43 percent are opposed, and 6 percent are not sure.

Of the current 8.25 percent sales tax, one percent is earmarked for transit projects.

It's unclear if this latest tax hike proposal will make it onto the ballot.

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