In L.A., 1 percenters currently pay less than a 1 percent city tax on the mansions they make millions selling.

By Sam Pizzigati,

Almost 80 years ago, in 1943, Los Angeles introduced the rest of the United States to the phenomenon of smog. At one point that year, the haze had visibility down a frightening three city blocks.

protest sign that says tax the rich featuring monopoly man face

In L.A. these days, “fine inhalable particulate matter” doesn’t pose much of a problem in the city’s plushest environs. But the neighborhoods L.A.’s low-income families call home still suffer from rates of air pollution that dwarf the levels in more comfortable quarters.

What’s going to fix this distinctly unequal state of atmospheric affairs? How about a step toward a more equal state of economic affairs — and L.A. voters might just be about to take that step. On the citywide ballot this November: a landmark new tax on the rich that will kick in every time a local mansion changes hands.

All the proceeds from this new tax on the turnover of properties worth over $5 million will go to creating safe and secure housing opportunities for L.A. families of limited financial means.

No one knows exactly how much the proposed new city ordinance will raise, if passed, but the take from the new tax figures to be substantial. The grassroots coalition behind the initiative, Unite to House LA, is estimating that had its proposed tax measure been in effect over one recent 12-month period, the city would have cleared some $800 million in new revenue.

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