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Mayor Villaraigosa set to back sales tax increase

City News Service | 2/11/2013, 8:34 a.m.

LOS ANGELE, Calif.--After withholding his support on the issue for weeks, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is set today to officially endorse Proposition A, the half-cent sales tax increase on the March 5 ballot.

Villaraigosa will announce his support for the measure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he is expected to be joined by City Council President Herb Wesson, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck and Los Angeles Fire Department Chief Brian Cummings.

Proposition A is opposed by mayoral candidates Wendy Greuel, the city controller, and Jan Perry and Eric Garcetti, both members of the City Council.

"We cannot cut and tax our way to a sustainable budget," Garcetti said Thursday in response to the release of a report by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana claiming that if Proposition A is defeated, as many as 500 police officer jobs could be on the chopping block, and the city's projected deficit of about $216 million could rise to $360 million.

"We must grow our economy," Garcetti said. Proposition A "would hurt businesses and hurt those families hardest hit by the economy."

Proposition A is expected to generate more than $200 million a year, but because it would be increased mid-year if it is approved, it would only generate about $100 million in the first year, Santana said.