Sales Tax Incresase To Get L.A. Moving

On April 1, a measure that
Californians voted for took effect.

In a move that some wish was an April Fool's Day joke, the State of California officially raised sales tax to 9.25 percent. In an effort to lessen California's current economic crisis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed $12.5 billion in tax increases to help close the budget deficit. The tax increase along with
several major spending cuts is part
of a plan that hopes to close the gap
on a budget that is $42 billion in
debt. The increase is estimated to
bring in $5.4 billion for the state by
the year 2011.

In a situation more specific to L.A. residents, Measure R is said by proponents to raise upwards of $40 billion over a 30 year span for improving public transportation in L.A. County, including improving the railway system, as well as
freezing Metropolitan Transportation
Authority fares until at least 2010.

Measure R raises the county sales
tax from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent
over the next 30 years. Many who
don't support Measure R are calling it
a special interest project, saying that
the funds raised from the tax increase
will not benefit certain areas of the
county that are said to be receiving
less funding for the project.
While this increase is not an
ideal situation for anyone during
this time of economic hardship,
one demographic that will be
significantly affected are California
college students. Students already
have to spend obscene amounts of
money to simply maintain the costs
that are required of students. With
the price of books being ridiculously
high, the sales tax increase, although
only half of a percent, can become
significant when added up mainly
due to the fact that most students
purchase several books per semester,
and in some cases, multiple books per
class, with the prices ranging from as
little as $10 to as much as hundreds
of dollars per book. However, many
students are taking the increases in
stride, understanding the necessity
and having faith in their government
during this time of economic crisis.
"It's unfortunate, but we all have
to deal with it. The effects of the
recession are hitting everyone,
students aren't excluded. And there's
no easy way out of it," said Tamara
Martinez, a Santa Monica College

In addition to the sales tax increase, Californians will also have to deal with increases in income tax as well as vehicle registration fees.
While the attempt is to generate
more income for the state's fledgling
economy, many are worried that
these changes may discourage spending, and add to the effects of the already hard hitting recession.
Gov. Schwarzenegger defends these tax increases saying, "We are living in a different time now," and saying that "drastic measures" are necessary to combat the issues the state's economy is currently

The state seems to be split in terms of ideas on how to improve the economy, however, it will be years before it's able to be determined who was right, if anyone at all.