Los Angeles voters appeared to be split Tuesday evening on two tax-related measures, according to early results.
Ordinance ULA, otherwise known as the “mansion tax,” was passing with 55% of voters in support. But nearly two-thirds of voters were against Proposition SP, a parcel tax that would benefit parks and recreational facilities.
Ordinance ULA seeks an additional tax on property sales that exceed $5 million. If approved, an additional 4% tax would be imposed on sales valued at over $5 million, and sales at over $10 million would see a 5.5% tax.
The tax would generate between $600 million and $1.1 billion annually, and a majority of the revenue would go toward affordable housing and tenant assistance programs.
Proponents argue that the measure would address the city’s affordable housing crisis. It has been endorsed by over 175 organizations, including the Democratic Party of LA County.
Laura Raymond, director of the Alliance for Community Transit-Los Angeles, told LAist that the measure is “very different from anything that has been done” in the past in the city.
“This is going to provide a broad range of strategies to both build affordable housing, acquire affordable housing and get people immediately into homes that need it, and also secure for years and years to come a permanent source of funding for housing,” Raymond said.
However, both candidates for mayor, Rep. Karen Bass and developer Rick Caruso, did not support the measure when asked by the Los Angeles Times in September. The candidates cited concerns over how the city was spending the money already allocated to address homelessness.
“I’m against it,” Caruso told The Wrap in a later interview. “The city has done a terrible job of managing and spending taxpayer dollars. … To say we’re going to create another tax without having accountability of where the money is currently going makes no sense to me.”
Opponents of the measure said in the city’s official voter information pamphlet that the tax would make purchasing apartment buildings in Los Angeles more expensive because it taxes any property that sells for more than $5 million — which they said would increase rent for tenants.
“It’s also a tax on the sale of supermarkets, restaurants and shopping centers,” the opponents wrote. “The cost of living in L.A. is already too high, and Initiative Ordinance ULA will lead to higher prices for consumers.”
Proposition SP, meanwhile, seeks to impose a parcel tax of 8.4 cents per square foot to fund parks, pools, waterways and other recreational facilities. It would generate approximately $227 million per year and require two-thirds voter approval to pass.
If approved, a citizens oversight committee would be established to recommend projects that would be funded from the tax revenue. Low-income households would be exempt from the tax.
Supporters of Prop SP include outgoing Councilman Joe Buscaino and Jimmy Kim, general manager of the city’s Recreation and Parks Department.
The proponents claim the measure would help renovate parks suffering from asbestos, mold, lack of safe drinking water and other issues.
Opponents — who include Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and former Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich — believe the tax would be used to pay for the 2028 Olympics and that the City Council has been diverting money intended for park maintenance to other departments.