LA Unified: A gang that can’t shoot straight

The state’s largest school district, Los Angeles Unified, is asking its voters to approve a special tax in a June 4 election.

That’s not unusual. Throughout California, school districts, cities, counties and other units of local government are loading up local ballots with tax proposals, either sales taxes or “parcel taxes,” a form of taxing property that avoids constitutional limits on conventional property taxes.

Despite the state’s high-flying economy, which is producing record amounts of tax revenue, local government and school officials are feeling the pinch of rapidly increasing pension costs and health care for current and retired workers.

They tend, however, to downplay, or even ignore, those reasons as they ask voters for more tax money, instead promising improvements in services. LA Unified says the proceeds of its parcel tax would reduce classroom overcrowding and improve student services, but it also would help pay the district’s escalating “contributions” to the California State Teachers Retirement System and the California Public Employees Retirement System. Click here to read more: