Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Santa Monica Councilman Kevin McKeown's Hypocrisy

A few weeks ago, I submitted a Letter to the Editor to the Santa Monica Daily Press. They published it in their July 5th issue:


You report that City Councilmember Kevin McKeown "urged commissioners to resist [rent] increases on low-income tenants during these rough economic times ("Rents to rise by 3.2 percent," June 11-12," page 1)."

Yet McKeown supported raising Santa Monica's sales tax — which even low-income residents must pay — despite "these rough economic times."

Apparently, McKeown believes City Hall cannot meet increasing expenses without raising revenue, but that landlords can magically do so.

Thomas M. Sipos, Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a city with both strict rent control and high property and sales taxes. McKeown (like many city officials) thinks that rising cost-of-living expenses justifies keeping rents low. If food and gas prices rise, it's "unfair" for tenants to pay higher rents. Never mind that landlords' expenses have also risen, including the cost of maintaining, repairing, and heating the tenants' apartments.

Yet hypocritically, rising expenses justifies the city raising its sales tax (which went up another half a percentage this year), even on low income tenants.

The total sales tax in Santa Monica (state, county, and city combined) was 10.25% until only a few days ago -- one of the highest rates in California.

Since the state sales tax went down 1% on July 1st, it's now 9.25% in Santa Monica -- still one of the highest rates in California.

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