Property taxes have been raised in an effort to bail out the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.
The County Board of Supervisors approved the increase of Measure B taxes by .0072 cent per square foot of improved property to raise an estimated $42 million annually, which will be used to help alleviate the department’s massive budget deficit.
Even though supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Don Kanabe both expressed frustration that the department’s request for more tax money was not accompanied by a plan for eliminating its structural deficit, they approved the request.
Measure B allows the Board of Supervisors to raise the tax rate incrementally.
The Health Services Department faces a budget deficit of $93.7 million in the coming fiscal year, which is expected to balloon to $484.9 million the following year due to federal and state funding cuts.
County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka recently said that Measure B previously taxed improved property at a rate of 0.03 cents per square foot, generating $142 million annually. With the tax hike, owners of 1,500 square foot homes or businesses for example, will wind up paying $10.80 more annually bringing the total to be paid to $55.80 a year.
Among the reasons for the deficit are: non-reimbursed trauma and emergency costs at county hospitals have increased about 11 percent, totaling $103 million since 2003.