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L.A. Considers Taxing Millionaires To Help Homeless People

The money would help pay for housing and other services for homeless people.

L.A. is channeling Robin Hood with a new idea to help homeless individuals. 

Los Angeles county is considering taxing millionaires to help fund efforts to tackle homelessness, according to the L.A. Times. In a board meeting of the L.A. County supervisors on Tuesday, the group voted to pursue state legislation that would impose a tax on personal income over $1 million a year. The money would help pay for housing and other services for homeless people.

"It is a crisis, no one can deny that," L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said at the board meeting, according to the Patch. "It is the most compelling issue confronting us at this time.”

People wait in line at a back to school giveaway of shoes, clothing and backpacks for more than 4,000 homeless and under
People wait in line at a back to school giveaway of shoes, clothing and backpacks for more than 4,000 homeless and underprivileged children in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles has the largest number of chronically homeless people in the country, with more than 12,000 people who have been homeless for a year or more, or have had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years. 

And the problem is only growing: The number of homeless people in the city increased by more than 10 percent last year.

Last month Mayor Eric Garcetti pledged $138 million to tackle the issue, mostly to build more permanent, affordable housing for the homeless. That figure is more than quadruple the $34 million allocated for the previous year’s budget, leaving many wondering where the money would come from.

This new “millionaire’s tax” could be one way to do it. By imposing a .5 percent tax on income above $1 million, it would generate an estimated $243 million a year, according to the L.A. Daily News.

But before this proposal becomes a reality, the state will need to approve legislation to implement the new tax, according to the L.A. Times. Then voters will have to approve the measure by more than two-thirds for it to pass.

With a recent poll showing 76 percent of likely voters are strongly supportive of the idea, according to the Daily News, it may have a shot at success.

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The Harbor Homeless Camp In Hawaii