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Measure H in 90 Seconds

Friday, February 10, 2017

What would Measure H do?

Measure H is a proposal on the L.A. County ballot that would raise the sales tax by one-quarter (1/4) of a cent. The revenues would go to provide services for the homeless. The tax applies to all the cities within the County of Los Angeles and would be in effect for ten years.  

How much more does that add to the cost of things?

If something cost $100 the added sales tax would increase the price by 25-cents. But this is on top of the sales taxes that already exist. In L.A. for example the sales tax would rise to 9%. In Long Beach it would go up to 10%

How much money would the sale tax raise?

It would raise about $355 million a year.

What would the money be used for?

The money would pay for services for the homeless. Not physical homes. It would fund services such as mental health, substance abuse treatment, health care, job training,   transportation, outreach, prevention. Among the people it would help are foster youth, veterans, battered women, seniors, disabled individuals, and the mentally ill.

What are the arguments for Measure H?

Supporters say we should pass Measure H because:

  • LA County’s homeless population is at a crisis point. There are an estimated 47,000 men, women and children on the streets, in cars, tents, and emergency shelters. That does not count tens of thousands of others on the brink of homelessness.
  • Giving a person shelter is essential, but without supportive services paid for by this tax, many homeless people will end up back on the streets.
  • A construction bond passed by L.A. City voters last November will go to build 10,000 units of housing. This measure completes the strategy by providing money to pay for supportive services. 

What are the arguments against Measure H?

There is no organized opposition to Measure H. But critics, including some formerly homeless people, say:

  • This money will go to the same homeless organizations that let homelessness get out of hand in the first place.
  • Homeless organizations and charities have plenty of money, but they don’t spend it well.
  • The 10,000 units of promised housing is only a fourth of what is needed to house LA County’s homeless. So homelessness will continue even if these Measures are implemented.  
  • The increase will makes already high sales taxes even higher.

Who is in favor of this measure?

Measure H is backed by a long list of non-profit organizations that fight poverty and homelessness, along with many city officials, labor unions, veterans groups, business groups, churches and synagogues.Among the backers are United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the California Community Foundation.

Is there any oversight for this money?

The measure calls for the creation of a Citizens’ Oversight Advisory Board. The 5-member board will review spending twice a year.


Note: This Measure requires two-thirds (2/3) approval from voters to pass.

Published by KCET.

Author: Val Zavala

February 8, 2017

Funding Issue Area & Geographic Regions