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California Briefing / LOS ANGELES

Businesses asked to back tax hike

September 06, 2008|Phil Willon

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Friday urged business leaders to support a half-cent sales tax increase for mass transit and other transportation projects, saying it is an essential component to making Los Angeles a more affordable and livable city.

The mayor, speaking before the Los Angeles Business Council, also gave a brief preview of a new housing plan he plans to unveil later this month. It calls for more affordable housing near the city's job centers and public transportation corridors.

"We can't shirk our responsibilities and leave residents with nowhere to turn but an unstable housing market and second-class transit system," the mayor said at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza hotel in Century City.

The business group has already endorsed the proposed transportation tax increase, which will be on the Nov. 4 ballot. The measure could raise $30 billion to $40 billion for new rail lines and freeway improvements.

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