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Measure M's sales tax increase will hit the poor the hardest

Measure M's sales tax increase will hit the poor the hardest
A Metro proposal on November's ballot, seeking a half-cent sales tax increase for a major expansion of the passenger rail network, is facing some early opposition from local groups in southern Los Angeles County. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The Times' analysis of who might oppose the Measure M half-cent sales tax increase for transit is based on geography. This implies that location and proximity to Metro benefits are the key influencers for supporting public transit. ("Voters defeated Metro's ambitious plan to raise money in 2012, and they might do it again," Oct. 3)

Sales taxes are inherently regressive. An island of high sales taxes provides incentive for purchasers of expensive items to flee to surrounding jurisdictions.

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Proposition 13 attempted to solve one problem, but it created a huge, powerful special interest group: homeowners. They're not budging. Gas prices are much lower than last year, and although Congress hasn't acted, even some red states are raising taxes to fund highway improvements.

I oppose Measure M, but not because of my geography. I don't believe that people buying diapers and school supplies should bear the brunt of the costs of boring a tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass.

Douglas Hileman, Valley Glen

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To the editor: We in the South Bay are much greener than might be supposed in the battle over Metro's ambitious plans for regional transit. In fact, the Hermosa Beach City Council has voted to endorse Measure M, and Manhattan Beach Councilwoman Amy Howorth signed the ballot argument for the initiative.

Measure M will advance the Green Line's extension by at least five years. Equally important, Measure M will allow a direct light-rail link between the South Bay and West Hollywood, with connections beyond. We currently rely on congested surface streets to travel to these important places.

And more funds will be immediately available to South Bay cities to reinvest in our own roads, bikeways, sidewalks, crosswalks and streets, as well as for our local transit systems and the highly successful Commuter Express bus service that the city of L.A. provides for us.

The South Bay may be an island, but sometimes we need to make the trip to shore. Measure M will help us get there.

Bob Wolfe, Hermosa Beach

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