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On board for transit sales tax?

October 15, 2008

Re "Get us back on the road," editorial, Oct. 9

In your endorsement of Measure R, you state: "The official opposition [tends] to favor a regional distribution scheme in which funds would be split evenly. That's not just parochial, it's naive." That kind of statement represents the treatment we get in the San Gabriel Valley.

The Gold Line extension through the San Gabriel Valley never had a shot with the Los Angeles City-led influence on MTA decision-making. I think what is parochial and naive is the idea that the City of Los Angeles is going to implement a regional system. I do not see an incentive for people living outside Los Angeles to increase our sales tax. Opponents to Measure R do favor a regional distribution system, as stated, but one that maximizes the limited funding available for projects that could be implemented quickly, such as the Gold Line.

One last thing: Metropolitan life does exist outside Los Angeles. If you come to the San Gabriel Valley sometime, you will see for yourself.

Sam Pedroza

Claremont

Re "Tough sell for L.A. tax hikes," Oct. 10

Manuel Criollo of the Bus Riders Union says people will "fundamentally challenge" Measure R because they are having a hard time meeting their rent. In reality, a sales tax measure shifts the burden away from low-income people and toward those with a greater ability to pay.

The necessities of life that are by far the major part of a low-income person's budget -- rent and utilities -- are not subject to sales taxes. Items such as big-screen TVs and luxury cars, which are only affordable by those of greater income, are -- and come with a significant sales tax because of their price.

A low-income person who spends $200 a year on soap, paper towels and clothes will pay an extra $1 a year in sales tax under Measure R. Someone who buys a $45,000 car will pay an extra $225 in sales tax just on that purchase.

The argument that Measure R is unfair to low-income people simply does not stand up to the numbers.

Kymberleigh

Richards

Van Nuys

The writer is legislative affairs director of Southern California Transit Advocates.

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