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Commentary

County Choice on Health Care

The state already collects taxes to provide these medical services

October 28, 2002|Michael D. Antonovich

Los Angeles County residents already are taxed by the state of California for trauma-care services. But the state has continued to cut trauma-care funding to the county.

Instead of holding the governor and the Legislature responsible for providing this vital program, proponents of Measure B are attempting to add a new tax on property.

Measure B is the wrong medicine for Los Angeles County for a number of reasons.

Although every property owner would be taxed, trauma care would not be provided in all areas.

As an example, residents of northern Los Angeles County would be mandated to pay nearly $9 million in additional taxes but would not have adequate access to trauma services.

Measure B would create a property tax for services not related to property. This is an assault on homeowners, renters, those on fixed incomes, small businesses and the spirit of Proposition 13.

Proponents want the public to believe that increasing property taxes is the only alternative to meeting trauma-care needs.

But the fact is that Los Angeles County provides medical care above and beyond that of any other county in California.

And though Measure B also purports to add only 3 cents per square foot on property tax bills, there is no cap on future increases.

The sky is the limit, again harming senior citizens and others on a fixed income.

Another disturbing fact is that there would be no oversight committee to ensure that taxes collected were spent for trauma care.

Just as we are being taxed by the state for trauma care and not getting it, there is no guarantee that money collected from Measure B wouldn't be misappropriated.

Michael D. Antonovich represents the 5th District on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, including the northern San Fernando Valley and the Antelope, Santa Clarita, Pomona, Crescenta and San Gabriel valleys.

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