Update from Hal Eisner:
Mayor Eric Garcetti tells me he's not ready to endorse a half-cent sales tax hike. He's not opposed to it, but says "Ithink we have to earn people's trust before we put that on the ballot. I'm looking at that. I'm open to it, but I think we have to earn people's trust." The Mayor also told me "this is a 70-year problem with our sidewalks and our streets. It won't be fixed even if we became the most efficient government overnight. We'd still take a decade to get out of it." And, when I asked him if there is money in the general fund to do something like this he said "we would have to take 100% of the money in the general fund, not have fire and police service and still wouldn't have enough." He said there has to be another revenue source, but he says it'll be a couple of months before he may make up his mind on whether to sign-off on it.
(FOX 11) The City's Administrative Officer Miguel Santana says it would cost some 4$ Billion to fix our worst streets and sidewalks in LA. To be more precise $3.86 billion for the streets and $640 million for the sidewalks. Councilmen Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino both believe street maintenance has been underfunded for dacades. And, both are siding with a proposed half-cent tax hike that, over 15 years, would provide the city with $4.5 billion. That much money, they say, would allow for 8700 lane-miles of new streets and 4600 miles of sidewalks. That's about 40% of all of the sidewalks in LA. The cost amounts to about $30 per person or $90 per family each year for 15 years.
As we walked some of the worst sidewalks downtown Buscaino told me "what are we going to do? Sit on our hands?" But, if the past is a guideline, tax hikes are a hard-sell. Prop A, which would have raised more tax money for the general fund failed. The councilman believes it failed because it was just money for the general fund and not specifically targeted for anything. Buscaino says this new half-cent sales tax would only be for sidewalks ands streets. But, first council has to approve putting the hike on the November 2014 ballot. That has to be done by the first week of July. If it does make it to the ballot the measure must pass by 2/3rds approval.