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The Real Deal Los Angeles

City Council passes tax ballot measure to raise money for the homeless

Under the measure, a $1M house would be taxed $40 to $80 a year
Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson and an affordable housing complex at 240 East 6th Street developed by the Ski Row Housing Trust (credit: the Durfee Foundation, Skid Row Housing Trust)

Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson and an affordable housing complex at 240 East 6th Street developed by the Ski Row Housing Trust (credit: the Durfee Foundation, Skid Row Housing Trust)

City Council unanimously approved a ballot measure that would raise up to $1.2 billion to build housing for Los Angeles’ burgeoning homeless population.

The initiative is a property tax levied on both residential and commercial properties. City analysts say a $1 million house, for instance, would be taxed between $40 to $80 a year under the measure.

Either property owners or their tenants are subject to pay the tax, with the exception of rent-stabilized tenants. For property that falls under the city’s rent stabilization ordinance, landlords cannot charge the residents the tax and must pay it themselves, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.

In order for the measure to pass, two-third of voters in the November election must vote in support of it. The council members voted 14-0 Wednesday. If city voters do approve come autumn, at least 10,000 affordable housing units will be built.

City Council is also considering other ways of raising money for the homeless, including a parcel tax as an alternative to the bond measure and other revenue stream ballot measures.

The property tax initiative, however, “is the best way that’s available,” Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson told reporters.

L.A. County has a homeless population of 46,874 — a 5.7 percent increase from 2015. [LADN]Cathaleen Chen