Measure FD would add a parcel tax of 6 cents per square foot on residential and commercial buildings in the unincorporated areas of LA County as well as in the 58 cities that contract with the county for fire protection and emergency services. (This does not include the city of Los Angeles, but does include many of the smaller cities in and around the city limits.) The parcel tax would cap out at 100,000 square feet and the money would be used to by the Los Angeles County Fire Department to hire more firefighters and paramedics and upgrade its equipment.
In a region famed for being prone to natural disasters, fires are among the most frequent large-scale crises we face. Climate change is making matters worse. All over the state, fire departments are being stretched by the increasing frequency with which they’re dispatched to battle major fires, and, as we learned in 2018, this means reinforcements and resources from elsewhere are not always available when they’re needed. LA County’s fire department also operates paramedic services, which are concurrently seeing an increase in demand. Both of these functions are vital to protecting the health and property of LA County’s citizens and worth funding.
LA County’s fire department is funded entirely via property taxes - it doesn’t receive any money from the county’s general fund. Because of this unique funding scheme they periodically have had to go to voters to pass parcel taxes for additional funding. The last time they did this, however, was over twenty years ago in 1997. Though the department has been late in getting their overtime report to voters, meaning they have not done everything they could have to document the need for this tax, it’s still worth voting YES. Too much rides on the fire department’s ability to provide quick, efficient service.
This measure requires a two-thirds vote to pass and the resulting tax would only apply in areas where the L.A. County Fire Department does its work.
Vote YES on Measure FD.