Sales tax bump to help LA County homeless delayed, which could cause funding shortfall

Los Angeles County residents will begin paying a quarter-cent sales tax to help the homeless beginning on Oct. 1, three months later than county officials had hoped.

The start time was set by the California Board of Equalization and means that instead of generating the projected $355 million in Measure H sales tax funds for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, about $266 million will be raised instead, according to a draft memo released Friday.

But the shortfall won’t impact the first or even second year of recommended spending for programs and initiatives, said Phil Ansell, director of the county’s Homeless Initiative, Chief Executive Office.

• RELATED STORY: How LA County plans to spend $355 million a year to fight homelessness

The draft memo sent to a 50 member panel planning team shows that in the first year, the recommended spending level is $259 million, which is below the estimated revenue generated by Measure H from October to June 2018. By 2018-2019, the recommended spending will grow to $374 million, or $19 million above Measure H projections.

In 2019-2020, about $432 million is recommended to fund social service programs to help homeless people — $96 million more than the quarter-cent sales tax is projected to generate.

Ansel said it’s difficult to predict if the quarter cent sales tax will generate more than $355 million by then.

A final report on the spending recommendations will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on June 13. The hope is the Board will…

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California News
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