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City Considers Hiking Sales Tax To Pay For Our Seriously Effed-Up Streets & Sidewalks

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Pothole on a Los Angeles street (Photo by Al Pavangkanan via the Creative Commons on Flickr)
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In L.A., it feels like it's the norm to drive through a massive pothole so large that you can pop a tire or trip while walking over an uneven sidewalk uprooted by a tree. Well, the city wants to take care of those repairs now by increasing your sales tax.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller proposed the half-cent sales tax hike in a report they released today, according to the L.A. Times. They believe if this measure passed, the city would be able to gain $4.5 billion over 15 years to fix some of our worst streets and sidewalks in L.A.

And just how much would it cost Angelenos? An average household would have to shell out between $75 to $108 a year, or an average of $91 a year, according to KPCC.

You might be asking yourself, "Why isn't the city paying for repairs already?" KPCC reported that the Bureau of Street Services currently only fixes streets and sidewalks that are not considered "failed" and a "huge expense," which explains why some streets look like they're out of scene from some end-of-the-world type of film.

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All the streets are graded on a scale of A through F (just like in school!) where the higher grades get repairs and the ones with Ds and Fs get glossed over, according to LA Weekly. (Better luck next time, streets!) "We just don't have the budget for them right now," Kevin James, president of the Board of Public Works told LA Weekly. "It makes more economic sense to maintain an A, B or C street."

The money generated from the sales tax hike would help pay for those backlogged repairs. The idea behind the tax increase is that even folks who are visiting from out of town and are using our streets would be contributing to the repair expenses.

The city officials need the City Council and Mayor Eric Garcetti to approve their measure so Angelenos can vote on it on a November ballot. It would need a two-thirds vote to pass. Garcetti told KPCC he wasn't sure if he would support the measure just yet. However, he said, "If there’s a chance of it passing—yes."

Well, not everyone is on board with this idea. Jack Humphreville, a neighborhood council member told the L.A. Times that if it weren't for the "over-the-top compensation" city employees are already getting, we wouldn't have to resort to a sales tax hike to pay for road repairs.