Saturday, May 19

Los Angeles voters vote $4 Billion tax increase...all to build homes for...


There's an old saying, well-known to conservatives and people with common sense.  You may have heard it:  "When you subsidize something, you get _____ of it."

If you quickly put "more" in the blank, congratulations.  And it seems obvious.

Apparently not to Democrats and socialists.

In Los Angeles, the leftist/socialist mayor and city council are wringing their hands over the city's huge "homeless problem"--reportedly 58,000 and counting.  And like leftists everywhere, they have a solution:  Raise taxes on workers, pay off union bosses to build mega-expensive housing, and bask in the approval of leftists for their virtue-signalling.

Hey, what could possibly go wrong with such a great plan, eh?

What follows is edited from an article by Daniel Greenfield at Front Page Magazine.

The homeless are everywhere in Los Angeles.  There are homeless encampments on the lawn at City Hall across from the LAPD HQ.  Near Venice Beach, the smell of human waste is overpowering.  Last year an outbreak of hepatitis was linked to homeless people defecating on the streets.

Leftists believe in only one power higher than medical marijuana.  So as the homeless problem grew, they asked that power for help.  And sure enough, the leftist government helped--by raising taxes.

Proposition HHH was going to solve the homeless crisis by hiking property taxes to raise $1.2 billion, which would supposedly be used to build housing for the homeless.

You'd think $1.2 billion could house all the homeless.  But that was just part of a $4.6 billion package of tax increases supposedly dedicated to providing housing for the homeless. Completely different from Prop HHH was Proposition H (the very similar naming was intentional), which raised the already-high sales tax.  As you already guessed, the leftist voters of Los Angeles approved that one too.

So, armed with $4.6 Billion in new taxes, the mayor and council started letting contracts.  But much to their surprise, the number of homeless increased faster than the supply of homeless housing.  Today it's 58,000, which is 26,000 more than just 6 years ago.

One of the main problems was that the city has approved contracts for homeless housing costing an average of $479,000 per unit.  Two run $650,000.

That’s not homeless housing: it’s homeless luxury condos--paid for by raising taxes on workers.

Why is housing for the homeless so incredibly expensive?  One reason is that the unions backing the move demand that any building done by government must pay union wages, which raises costs by 30%.

But it’s the sense of crisis that moved voters to pass multiple tax hikes and spending packages.  Left-wing "activists" screamed “crisis,” and got everything that they wanted.  So...with $4 billion in new tax revenue, problem solved, right?

Problem is, whenever activists find pols willing to do as they demand, the problem mysteriously expands.  You think 58,000?  Try twice that many.  Whenever lefties find pols ready to squeeze taxpayers to "help the homeless, the number of homeless myseriously increases.

Odd, eh?

At $479,000 per unit, trying to house every homeless person will quickly outpace any tax hikes and revenue plans. When 26,000 new homeless people can show up in 6 years, building housing for all of them would cost $13 billion.

And building the new housing is just the start:  operating and maintaining the new homeless units would require permanent subsidies--again, paid for by taxpayers, via higher and higher taxes.

LA's proposed 2018-19 budget includes $430 million in homeless spending. That’s up from $178 million last year. To put that into perspective, Los Angeles will spend less than $300 million on street and road infrastructure that is a core function of municipal management.  Five percent of the budget is being spent on one-tenth of one percent of the population.  Makes perfect sense.

Some people do became homeless after suffering life setbacks, but most people recover.  But recovering from setbacks is virtually impossible for drug addicts and the mentally ill, who comprise a huge majority of the homeless.

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