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The Real Deal Los Angeles

LA school board proposes tax on commercial, resi property owners

The proposed parcel tax could raise $500M and be calculated per square foot basis
March 01, 2019 09:00AM

LAUSD Board of Education President Monica Garcia

There may be a housing shortage in Los Angeles, but another key issue is overcrowding in the public school system. For that particular problem, the Los Angeles Unified School District wants property owners to pay up.

The city’s board of education is pushing for a ballot question that would ask residents to approve raising taxes to fund the school district, according to the L.A. Times. The measure would tax property owners 16 cents per square foot of habitable space in single-family homes, apartments and commercial buildings.

The tax proposal would affect owners of large commercial buildings in particular, putting them on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars a year. Apartment building landlords would likely pass the hike along to tenants, according to the report.

The ballot question — aimed for the June election — would be put to all voters in the L.A. school district and would require two-thirds support. The tax would be in effect for 12 years and estimates are it would raise around $500 million per year, adding a significant portion to the city public school system’s $7.5 billion annual budget.

Mayor Eric Garcetti supports the proposed tax. His office calculates that most homeowners would pay between $100 and $450 extra per year. The higher number is based on taxes for a roughly 2,800-square-foot home.

L.A. homeowners are already some of the highest-taxed in the country. Home values are among the highest in the country and recent tax hikes have made it more expensive to own property in L.A., and the rest of California. Still, many high net-worth Angelenos aren’t decamping to low-tax states like Florida, as they are in New York and other places.

Among other things, the money would go toward reducing class sizes, attracting teachers, and providing more counseling, nursing, and library services to students. Senior citizens and residents receiving disability payments would be exempt from the tax. [LAT] Dennis Lynch