Pubdate: Fri, 15 Jul 2016
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Los Angeles Times
Author: Marsha Temple


Re "L.A. County putting pot tax on ballot," July 13

The biggest problem with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor's 
ballot initiative to tax marijuana businesses to help pay for 
homeless services is that this very small amount of funding would 
only be available in two years if the voters pass Proposition 64 in 
November and legalize recreational pot use.

Using history as a guide, an increase of 12% in the homeless 
population over two years would translate to more than 5,000 
additional homeless people in that time. Given that about 30% of 
people experiencing homelessness are former foster youth, such a 
significant increase would be unconscionable.

The governor proposes to build more housing for mentally ill homeless 
people, but with planning and permitting, it could be another five 
years before a single unit becomes available. A quarter-cent sales 
tax increase is the only funding mechanism that would give us relief 
from increasing homelessness when we need it: now.

Marsha Temple

Los Angeles The writer is executive director of the nonprofit 
Integrated Recovery Network.
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