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ORANGE COUNTY IN BANKRUPTCY : Group's Measure R Alternative: Hit Corporations and Wealthy : Taxes: Retirees organization says sales tax hike hurts poor the most. 'I am tired of hearing the rich complain,' one says.

June 21, 1995|SARAH KLEIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SANTA ANA — A group opposed to Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase that goes before voters next week, on Tuesday proposed that Orange County instead increase taxes on large corporations and impose a tax on wealthy residents to recover from bankruptcy.

The group, known as the People's Response, said Measure R is not the fairest solution in making up a $1.7-billion loss in the county investment pool.

Jim Gibson, chairman of the group, said during a news conference that Measure R will hurt the county's poorest residents.

"We want the people at the top end to chip in a little more," said Gibson, a San Clemente graphics artist. "Tax those who can afford new taxes."

Another member of the group, Dr. Jack Kent, said he would be willing to pay $1,000 a year to the county so that poor people would not be hurt.

"This is a terribly regressive tax in one of the richest counties in the world,' Kent said. "There are other ways of raising the money than taking it from the already afflicted."

The group, made up mostly of retirees, called for a reassessment of corporate property values and a higher corporate property tax.

Group members said oil companies, developers and banks are not paying enough property taxes because their properties have not been reassessed in years.

"Let them pay their fair share," said Larry Bales, an auditor who has worked in the Orange County assessor's office for 26 years. Bales said during the press conference outside the Hall of Administration that property taxes for corporations should be increased from 1% to 2% a year.

Members of the group also want residents who earn more than $100,000 a year to pay 5% to 10% of their state income tax to the county, Kent said.

"I am tired of hearing the rich complain," Kent said. "They are not paying anything." The People's Response is the fourth group in the county to come out against Measure R. The other three, the Committees on Correspondence, Citizens Against the Tax Increase and the Orange County Auto Dealers Assn., are opposed to tax increases.

Proponents of Measure R, including many county employee groups, health care officials and a host of industry giants such as Irvine Co., Rockwell International, and Walt Disney Co., support the sales tax increase, saying it is the best way to ensure the region's long-term economic health and stability.

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