A county petition seeking to enact a new half-cent sales tax for homelessness services and housing will be put to voters in November after county supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to accept the language of the measure as written.

If approved, the Homelessness Services and Affordable Housing Solutions measure would repeal the current quarter-cent sales tax, Measure H, which expires in 2027. The new measure would not have a sunset, and also would also be exempt from the state’s cap on sales tax.

If the measure passes, sales tax could reach as high as 10.75% in some cities — including Long Beach.

Long Beach would benefit from the new measure beyond new homelessness funding; because of the current limit on sales tax, the city can only charge a half-cent sales tax through Measure A, which is intended for public safety and infrastructure.

But the city could reap up to $24 million more annually from Measure A if it is able to charge the full 1% approved by voters, which could aid the city as it seeks to fill budget shortfalls in coming years.

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The new tax measure was backed by 80 organizations, including PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) and LiBRE, both based in Long Beach.

The aim is to potentially double the roughly $350 million generated by Measure H, with 60% of the revenue going toward homelessness services and 15% of that distributed to cities based on their annual homeless counts. Another 35.75% would support the LA County Affordable Housing Solutions Agency, which was created last year by the state Legislature to oversee homeless solutions.

The county Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan announced last week that the new measure had received enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

On Tuesday, the County Board of Supervisors had a choice of whether to immediately place the measure on the ballot or to order a report on the impact of the measure within 30 days before placing it on the ballot. The supervisors voted unanimously to immediately place the measure before voters.

Before the board voted, Supervisor Hilda Solis listed a number of projects and services that have been funded through Measure H — seeking to counter claims by some critics who spoke Tuesday about a lack of accountability.

“Since Los Angeles voters passed Measure H back in 2017, the county has placed well over 108,000 people into permanent housing and another 148,000 have been moved into interim housing and over 34,000 individuals have been prevented from falling into homelessness,” she said.

City News Service contributed to this report. 

Melissa Evans is the Chief Executive Officer of the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal. Reach her at [email protected], @melissaevansLBP or 562-512-6354.