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Measure J Fails to Get Two-Thirds Majority

Countywide ballot measure falls just shy of passage, with 64.72 percent of votes in favor of the traffic relief sales tax.

A half-cent sales tax that would have accelerated rail, highway, bus and transportation improvement projects across the region failed to secure on Tuesday the two-thirds majority it needed to pass. 

The measure earned 64.7 percent of the vote, two percentage points shy of the 66.7 percent threshold.

Measure J would have extended the Measure R sales tax—the half-cent sales tax hike voters approved in 2008—for the next 30 years. 

Despite the measure's failed passage, Metro CEO Art Leahy said the transit authority would continue its work on transportation projects.

"Metro remains focused on delivering a dozen new transit projects and 15 highway improvement projects that voters approved four years ago in passing Measure R," he said in a statement.

And since Measure R continues until 2039, this might not be the last time voters decide whether or not to extend the sales tax, he said.

"Metro directors have the option of asking voters in the future if they wish to extend the program," he said.

Measure R is dedicated to the construction and operation of a specified list of transportation projects, including the Westside Subway Extension, the Green Line to LAX and the Gold Line extension east from east Los Angeles and a new transit corridor along the 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass.

Measure R received 67.1 percent of the vote in 2008.

The sales tax increase is currently set to last until 2039, and is projected to raise $40 billion in that time period. Approval of the ballot proposal would have extended the tax until 2069.

The Measure J extension would have enabled Metro to continue collecting funds to “bond against” future revenue from the Measure R tax, meaning the agency could estimate the anticipated amount of revenue, sell that amount in bonds to receive the revenue quickly and then pay back bond holders when the money from the sales tax is collected.

A bill authorizing the ballot measure, authored by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), received California Senate approval in August. Gov. Jerry Brown in late September signed a bill that allowed Metro to place Measure J on the November ballot.

Supporters of extending the tax include Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and the bill's sponsor, Feuer.

"We need to get these transportation projects underway now," Feuer said. "By signing AB 1446, the governor has agreed to empower L.A. County voters to jumpstart 250,000 jobs and break through traffic congestion that chokes our region."

The Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education voted in September to adopt a resolution opposing Measure J.

"Our resolution is designed to send a signal to the MTA letting them know how much we oppose running the subway extension under Beverly Hills High School and how their reckless spending has undermined our confidence in their ability to manage taxpayer funds," board President Brian Goldberg told Patch in September.

The measure would have required Metro to break ground on 15 major transit and highway projects within five years instead of 20 years.

—Patch editor Marie Cunningham contributed to this report.

not Carl Peterson lll November 12, 2012 at 12:03 AM
William Korn, Are you related to anyone from Mother Jones magazine? Property taxes are passed on no matter what, and are eventually paid by the end consumer. Homerenters: Apartments are valued and sold as a business. All costs, including taxes. are part of the equation. renters in effect pay the taxes as the rents have to justify the costs to the owner. Business: Taxes paid more directly to the building owner, are part of the costs of goods, and passed on to the consumer. I am not saying who or who should not pay. I am just saying the costs taxes end up the burden of the end consumer. The property taxes in regards to my business, was more of a shmarky remark. I lost the majority of what I built up because of a whole host of items. But, I built it. I lost it. I will buid it again.. Having said that, taxes,regulations, and such, have weighed a heavier burden than I think it should. Fun facts:Water Heaters, plumbing, section 8, general road blocks, and regulations are all common. The political correct items listed. I still do it my way. I still do the right thing weather it is or is not politically correct. The makeup of my tenants is a diverse as our community. And I will still help "Mildred" I handle tenant and customer issues with one on one talks with the person as a person, not as a customer or tenant. No lawsuits yet.
William Korn November 12, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Buzz, by a weird coincidence I am related to a David KORN, but not the David CORN that writes for Mother Jones. My brother David KORN is a retired railroad worker who is amused by being mistaken for David CORN, although he agrees with some of what Mr. CORN writes (as do I). Indeed, I believe that David CORN did the country a great service by helping to reveal the scorn Gov. Romney expressed for almost half the population when he thought the population wasn't listening. I'm glad we share common ground on the matter of property taxes. If I patronized your business, I would fully be fine with and expect you to pass on your costs, whatever they are, in proportion to the percentage of your income that my patronage represents. I may be a Democrat, but I absolutely want you to make a profit. Contrary to the beliefs of some that frequent these comment pages (see Marg & Gregory, for example), the immense majority of Democrats are fine with free enterprise and with businesses making profits. In fact many small- and large business owners are Democrats. (continued)
William Korn November 12, 2012 at 01:04 AM
(continued) Although I consider myself to be a "liberal", I happen to believe that the concept of PC is the dumbest thing that liberals ever came up with. However, I must also say that I've never been the object of "hate speech" or "fighting words", so I can't really say what it feels like to have them directed at me. But it seems to me that the PC-related "fun facts" you refer to are caused less by the regulations themselves than by a certain very low breed of lawyer who makes his or her living blackmailing businesses by threatening to charge businesses with code, regulation, or ADA violations. Or by people who have been approached by said lawyers. Or by people who have some other grudge. The codes do serve a purpose. Would you like to eat in a restaurant that didn't meet the sanitary codes set out by state & local governments? Conservatives like to say stuff like, "Well, a restaurant that is a sanitary pesthole will lose customers," which is true. But what would you think if you were one of the customers that got terminal food poisoning?
Al November 15, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Can anyone explain the financing math behind the proposed Measure J funding ? Accelerating bond funds that will receive their first revenue in 2039, and then be on a 30 year payback schedule ? Given the first date to start was in Jan. 2013, how is this 26 years (=2039-2013) of "extra" interest paid on these Measure J expenses from the acceleration ? (or it is "free" money!!?) How can people feel good about voting in taxes for their grandchildren (57 yrs from the start) ? And why commit to such expenses when there is no technical innovation included (keep status quo), do we expect the same technology per mode to be the only options 50+ yrs from now ? And what is the expected lifetime of these improvements, both rail/transit and highway ? Asphalt pavement maybe 15-20 yrs and cement 20+, all less than the life of the bonds.
ROBERT E. FISHBACK November 15, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Oh wow, so many words to read....Two Maxims: :If you have it, flaunt it; if you don't have it, buy it on time and then flaunt it. This is the E=MC squared of the economy. Another brilliancy: Build a good highway all the way up and on top of the S.A. Then, let patience had her perfect work> After the big one, there will be many well placed off and on ramps to the real highway to be built after the big one.

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