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SCVNews.com | Supes Put Marijuana Tax on Ballot to Fight Homelessness | 07-12-2016
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1970 - Lagasse family helps save Mentryville buildings as Newhall and Malibu brush fires erupt & join into worst fire in SoCal history. Twelve fires over 10 days burn 525,000 acres, kill 13 people and destroy approx. 1,500 structures. [story]


MedicalMarijuanaSix months ago, the Board of Supervisors approved a historically unprecedented plan to end homelessness in Los Angeles County. On Tuesday, the Board moved to create a sustainable revenue source to implement that plan.

After considering four revenue options and listening to public comment from more than 100 members of the public, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted to place a special marijuana tax on the November ballot that would raise revenue dedicated to services for homelessness.  The tax is projected to generate between $78 and $130 million annually and will require a vote of two-thirds of the electorate. (The tax is predicated on voters passing The Adult Use of Marijuana Act Initiative, a state measure that seeks to legalize recreational marijuana that will also be on the November ballot.)

sheilakuehl

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl

Supervisor Kuehl said, “This Board has shown its resolve to end LA’s homeless crisis. We are six months into the successful implementation of the County’s historic 47-strategy plan to end homelessness. Today, we took a major step toward identifying a sustainable source of funding to pay for the housing and support services needed to implement that plan and house the 47,000 men, women, and children who are homeless today.”

Supervisor Hilda Solis

Supervisor Hilda Solis

“I am delighted that the Board has taken a step forward today to address homelessness,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis. “I supported the sales tax, as well as both general and special taxes on marijuana, and I believe we moved forward with our most viable ballot option for this November’s ballot without delaying it until the March 2017 ballot. I feel that the special tax on marijuana sales will be an effective revenue source as we work to achieve our goal of ending homelessness. As we move forward, we will work with our County departments on enforcement and regulation, as well as prevention and education for our children and youth.”

Earlier this year, the Board of Supervisors allocated $150 million, including $100 million in new spending, toward comprehensive services and housing options for the homeless.  If the proposed tax passes in November, it will create a substantial, sustained revenue source that will support mental health/substance abuse treatment; prevention/outreach/crisis/support services; rapid-re-housing; housing rehabilitation and construction; and other services.

The County measure has been designed to complement the LA City Council’s recent decision to ask voters to authorize a $1.2 billion bond to support housing for homeless men, women and families, and the state’s No Place Like Home $2 billion bond measure to construct permanent, supportive housing for chronically homeless persons with mental illness.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas opposed the marijuana tax, instead wanting to see a quarter-cent sales tax increase to fight homelessness. He said: “”Our best opportunity to fund the fight against homelessness failed by just one vote. The Board chose an uncertain marijuana business tax to fight homelessness, rather than a reliable 1/4 cent sales tax to put on the November ballot. The Board selected an option that would generate the least amount of money and take the longest amount of time to generate funds.  There is no guarantee that voters in November will pass a measure legalizing the use of marijuana, and there are also many unresolved questions as to the impact on public health and safety on our communities– particularly those that are most vulnerable. However, I remain committed to securing the funds needed to address the homeless crisis in L.A County.”

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1 Comment

  1. Robert Heathcliff says:

    Just shows the ignorance of the this board. Even after hearing about dangers of marijuana legalization. Look at the homelessness increases in Colorado due to legalization. MJ is still not regulated and has become “Big Tobacco” again. The board just doesn’t get it. You think homelessness and youth addiction is bad now? Stand by folks. Remember this comment.

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