LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved placing a half-cent sales tax on the March ballot to help combat the city's financial woes.
Three other taxes being considered by the council that would bring in considerably less money were sent back to committee.
Estimated to bring in up to $214 million in its first year, the sales tax could nearly close the city's projected shortfall of $216 million in fiscal 2012-13.
The city council will have to vote in favor of the measure again next week for it to be added to the ballot, as the proposed tax did not pass by unanimous vote. Councilmembers Mitch Englander, Jan Perry, Eric Garcetti and Dennis Zine voted against the tax for a vote count of 10-4.
"If this tax passes, there is no incentive for employees to agree to freeze salaries," Perry said.
Perry added that in addition to being a regressive tax, it would cause businesses to relocate to nearby cities.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana confirmed the city will need to take other steps to reach a balanced budget beyond approving the sales tax.
Even if the measure passes, the city will continue to confront a $100 million shortfall in following years, Santana said.
"This will give us a bridge to keep the city together," said Councilman Tom LaBonge. "I know no one likes the word tax, but it's an investment."