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Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA November 6, 2012 Election
Measure J
Accelerating Traffic Relief, Job Creation
County of Los Angeles

Continuation of Voter-Approved Sales Tax Increase - 2/3 Approval Required

Fail: 1,893,340 / 66.11% Yes votes ...... 970,611 / 33.89% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Dec 2 2:20pm, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting (4,993/4,993)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

To advance Los Angeles County's traffic relief, economic growth/ job creation, by accelerating construction of light rail/ subway/ airport connections within five years not twenty; funding countywide freeway traffic flow/ safety /bridge improvements, pothole repair; keeping senior/ student/ disabled fares low; Shall Los Angeles County's voter-approved one-half cent traffic relief sales tax continue, without tax rate increase, for another 30 years or until voters decide to end it, with audits/ keeping funds local?

Impartial Analysis from
John F. Krattli,
County Counsel
Approval of Measure J would authorize adoption of an ordinance proposed by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority ("Metro"), to extend the previously approved Measure R retail transactions and use tax ("Sales Tax") for an additional 30 years, from 2039 to 2069, at the current rate of one-half of one percent (0.5%), as well as the adoption of an expenditure plan.

The Sales Tax extension may be terminated by the voters following adoption and qualification of a ballot initiative pursuant to the Elections Code and Public Utilities Code.

Measure R was approved by the voters in 2008 to impose the Sales Tax for an initial 30 years to raise revenue for transportation related expenditures, including expanding and enhancing rail and bus systems, improving highways, repairing potholes and streets, and suspending scheduled fare increases. Measure J will extend the Sales Tax for an additional 30 years from 2039 to 2069. Revenues from the Sales Tax extension shall be used to accelerate the completion of Measure R projects until those projects are complete, and to provide reduced fares to senior citizens, disabled individuals and students and to expand Metro's reduced fare programs, and other expenses as provided in the ordinance. To the extent necessary to accelerate completion of a project, Metro may authorize expenditure of funds derived from the initial Measure R Sales Tax.

Once the Measure R projects are complete, the revenues received from the Sales Tax extension would be allocated solely for the transportation purposes described in the ordinance. Such funds would be available only for projects and programs described in the expenditure plan of the ordinance.

Metro may adopt an amendment by a two-thirds (2/3) vote to transfer net revenues between the Transit Capital Subfund and the Highway Capital Subfund within the same subregion. All other provisions remain the same as stated in the ordinance implementing Measure R, with the prior establishment of an Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee and the annual audit requirements to remain in effect.

This measure requires a two thirds (2/3) vote of the qualified voters in the County of Los Angeles who cast votes in the election. The Sales Tax would only be extended if the State Legislature approves pending legislation specifically authorizing the Sales Tax extension, providing that the Sales Tax extension is exempt from the rate limit established by law, and does not mandate expenditure of the Sales Tax extension revenues in a manner different or contrary to Metro's expenditure plan. Assuming legislative approvals are obtained and are effective prior to January 2, 2013, Measure J would tax effect on January 2, 2013, with the Sales Tax extension imposed on July 1, 2039, immediately upon expiration of the initial Sales Tax.

Contact FOR Measure J:
Yes on Measure J
Committee for Jobs and Traffic Relief
1801 Ave. of the Stars, Ste. 829
Los Angeles, CA 90067

Contact AGAINST Measure J:
No on Measure J

  Official Information

Campaign Finance Data

Maplight / Voters Edge (Measures A & B included)
Pros & Cons from LWV / L.A. County

The Situation: Measure R was approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008; it imposed a half-cent County sales tax to last for 30 years, from 2009 to 2039, and be devoted to the County's public transit system. Funds were allocated to rail and rapid transit projects (35%); freeway and highway projects (20%); bus operations, including fare subsidies for seniors, students, disabled, etc. (20%); local street system maintenance and upgrades (15%); and various Metrolink, Metrorail, and rail operations (10%). Administration expenses are allowed at 1.5%, within each category.

The Proposal: Extend the Measure R tax for another 30 years, from 2039 to 2069, continuing to fund the same transportation categories, including up to seven transit and eight roadway projects. The 15% allocated to local projects would go to the 88 cities and the unincorporated areas in the county on a per capita basis. The extension would mean Metro could apply for a recently expanded federal program (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, TIFIA) to sell bonds for up to 35 years and to access funds to accelerate construction projects. Measure J would continue the provisions of Measure R with one exception: Measure R, as passed, allows MTA to transfer between highway and transit funds (after a 2/3 vote of its board) once every 10 years, starting in 2019. Measure J would permit MTA to transfer net revenues between the Transit Capital Subfund and the Highway Capital Subfund, within the same subregion, whenever approved by a 2/3 vote of the MTA board.

Supporters say
  • It would be wise to allow the Metropolitan Transit Authority to take advantage of current low interest rates and low employment rates by issuing bonds based on an extension of the tax to 2069.
  • By speeding up local highway and transit projects, Measure J will create over 400,000 jobs in the county without a tax-rate increase.
  • Revenues come to the county, not to Sacramento, and will speed up earthquake repair of bridges, tunnels, and overpasses, as well as speeding completion of light rail, subway, and airport connection projects.
  • Annual audits and public review of expenditures assure accountability.

Opponents say
  • The measure is not specific enough about which projects will be completed and when and allows MTA too much discretion in the way funds are allocated to specific projects and communities.
  • The measure is inequitable and ill-timed. Accelerated spending doesn't mean the projects that are promised will be completed.
  • Proponents overstate job creation possibilities; these jobs depend on getting billions of dollars from struggling federal and state agencies.
  • Measure J doesn't mandate specific repairs or low fares. It shortchanges Metrolink's share of funding (at 3%) and isn't fair to growing cities.

Costs: The nonprofit Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation estimates that this tax costs the average Los Angeles County resident about $25 per year. It is anticipated that the cost will remain about the same through 2069, adjusted for inflation. Additional revenues over the 30-year period from 2039 to 2069 are forecast to be approximately $90 billion.

A Yes vote would extend until 2069 the half-cent transit tax on sales within the county to be used on specified projects

A No vote would mean no extension; the tax would expire in 2039.
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Arguments For Measure J Arguments Against Measure J
Measure J will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in LA County over the next decade by speeding up local highway and transit projects.

Measure J accelerates the completion of public transit projects and provides more funding for countywide highway, transit, and local street improvements by continuing the County's voter-approved one-half cent traffic relief sales tax without a tax rate increase.

CREATES OVER 400,000 JOBS. With LA County suffering 12 percent unemployment, Measure J will create over 410,000 local jobs, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

SPEEDS UP PROJECTS. Measure J will speed up the completion of light rail, subway and airport connection projects in just 13 years rather than 27 years. It enables local cities to fix thousands of potholes annually and repair congested and deteriorated roads countywide.

IMPROVES FREEWAY TRAFFIC FLOW. Measure J will improve traffic flow on the 5, 10, 14,60, 101, 110, 134, 138,210,405,605 and 710 freeways. Measure J will upgrade our aging freeway and highway system, including bridge and tunnel improvements, and help prepare for hundreds of thousands of additional cars expected in coming decades.

IMPROVES EARTHQUAKE SAFETY. Measure J will speed the earthquake repair of aging bridges, tunnels and overpasses.

KEEPS SENIOR FARES LOW. Measure J keeps bus fares low for seniors, students and the disabled.

ALL FUNDS STAY LOCAL, WITH STRICT ACCOUNTABILITY PROVISIONS. Measure J requires that all revenues stay in Los Angeles County, with no money for Sacramento. By law, funds can be used ONLY for transportation improvement projects and services with annual independent audits and full public review of expenditures.

Jumpstart local jobs and traffic relief. Vote YES on J. For more information, visit

President & CEO
Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce

Executive Secretary
Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council

Mayor, City of Alhambra
President, San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments

President, Los Angeles Business Council

Director Southern California Environmental Justice Project,
Natural Resources Defense Council

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Measure J is filled with FALSE PROMISES of job creation and accelerated traffic relief. It manipulates voters into paying more taxes without accountability or protections on how that money is spent.

Measure J falsely promises accelerated projects but the truth is:

  • NO ACCELERATION of the Green Line connection to LAX without outside funding
  • NO FUNDING for rail connections to our regional airports--Long Beach, Ontario, Bob Hope, Palmdale
  • NO FUNDING for the Crenshaw Line's Leimart Park Station and Wilshire Extension
  • NO FUNDING to extend the Gold Line to Claremont
  • NO FULL FUNDING for the I-405 Corridor Project
  • NO HELP for the Exposition Line to Santa Monica

Measure J proponents intentionally overstate the creation of jobs in Los Angeles County. Jobs can only be created if struggling federal and state agencies give us billions of dollars to complete Measure J projects.

Measure J won't fix gridlock. The same projects were already promised in 2008, but will now take 60 years of taxation instead of 30.

Measure J DOESN'T MANDATE "funding ... bridges, safety and traffic flow improvements; fixing potholes."

Measure J DOESN'T MANDATE "keeping senior, student, disabled fares low."

Measure J SHORTCHANGES Metrolink's fair share of funding to improve passenger safety and travel speed--by locking in Metrolink at 3%.

Measure J disenfranchises growing cities and unincorporated communities + by tying funding to frozen 2004 population levels.

Measure J forces a heavy burden onto taxpayers, creating massive debt for our grandchildren + all for one political, multi-billion dollar bloated subway.

Join local business leaders, Chambers of Commerce and elected officials and vote NO on Measure J.

Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation

Former State Director, NAACP

Mayor, City of Lancaster

Councilmember, City of Cerritos

Councilmember, City of Manhattan Beach

Measure J may sound great, but it's classic bait-and-switch! It is deeply flawed, inequitable, and ill-timed.

In 2008, Measure R promised the voters of Los Angeles County that if they taxed themselves for the next 30 years through a half-cent sales tax, they'd have new transportation projects delivered on time and on budget to ease traffic congestion throughout the County.

Now, just 4 years later, Metro is coming back asking for more of your money.

Why? Because they know the higher taxes you're already paying aren't enough to finish the projects they promised you.

Just because the money is accelerated doesn't mean the projects you were promised will get completed. Measure J relies on funding that is not guaranteed.

For example, the Green Line to LAX cannot be built without outside funding. In fact, there is no money to connect rail to the Long Beach, Ontario, Bob Hope or Palmdale airports as Measure J promises. Because Measure J only accelerates projects already on the books, it won't create any new jobs that wouldn't have been created under Measure R.

Measure J is just a way for all County residents to pay for the pet projects of one municipality and does not guarantee that all 88 cities get their fair share. For example, San Fernando Valley represents 37% of Los Angeles City population, but they only received 13% of the City's Measure R funding. Some Los Angeles County residents will be paying taxes until 2069 that will never be invested in their communities.

Measure R listed specific projects for construction and only allowed changes to that list after 10 years. Measure J removes those taxpayer protections and allows special interests to move money right now.

We need honest, responsible traffic relief - but a blank check that our kids and grandkids will pay for the next 60 years is not the answer. Vote NO on Measure J!

Chairman, Los Angeles County MTA

Los Angeles County Supervisor, MTA Board Member

Chairman of the Board,
United Chambers of Commerce of the San Fernando Valley

Council Member, City of Downey

Council Member, City of Claremont

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Measure J rejects the old pork-barrel politics that gave us congested freeways in favor of immediate jobs and traffic relief.

OUR COUNTY NEEDS JOBS NOW. Measure J creates jobs now, when unemployed workers in Los Angeles County need them most and construction prices are low. Accelerating highway and transportation projects will create 410,000 jobs over the next ten years.

COUNTYWIDE PLAN. Measure J is a countywide plan. The first major project was the Orange Line extension in the San Fernando Valley, completed on schedule and under budget. Measure J will accelerate projects in the San Fernando Valley, South Bay, San Gabriel Valley, southeast Los Angeles County and North County. This includes a new transit line connecting the San Fernando Valley to West Los Angeles and highway improvements in all parts of the county.

INDEPENDENT OVERSIGHT. Measure J mandates independent oversight by a committee of retired judges to make sure tax dollars are spent properly.

LOCALLY-CONTROLLED STREET REPAIR. Measure J means every city and every part of unincorporated Los Angeles County will get 30 additional years of locally-controlled funding to invest in better streets, roads, sidewalks and transit.

JOBS NOW, INVESTMENT FOR THE FUTURE. Measure J is an investment in the future. Measure J means jobs now and a modern, efficient transportation system that works for everyone for the long-term.

Vote YES on Measure J!

San Fernando Valley Civic Leader

Business Manager, Laborers Local 300

Mayor, City of Alhambra
President, San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments

Chair of the Valley Economic Alliance

Mayor of Duarte
Chair SGV, COG Transportation Committee

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Created: December 17, 2012 13:44 PST
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