Measure M: legal oversight to provide funds are properly spent

Measure M is a sales tax ballot measure that is being considered by L.A. County voters on Nov. 8. The ballot measure would raise the countywide sales tax by a half cent and continue the Measure R half-cent sales tax beyond its mid-2039 expiration date to fund a number of highway, transit, local street, walking and biking programs.

To ensure that Measure M funds would be spent properly, here is a summary of provisions adopted by the Metro Board of Directors:

•Metro would Establish a Measure M Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee of Metro that would meet four times each year to review Measure M expense. The Committee would report directly to the Metro Board of Directors and the public.

•Metro would hire a contractor to perform an annual audit of Measure M. The audit would determine if funds were properly spent.

•Under the Measure M ordinance, no projects are allowed to be added to the agency’s plans if they “delay the groundbreaking start date, expected opening date or amount of Measure M funding.

•The agency would also perform an assessment of every project and program every 10 years. Any funds not needed for a project must be spent in the same subregion of the county.

•Just as an election can be held to approve Measure M, an election can be held in future years to end the tax.

Here is the full ordinance approved by the Metro Board that provides the legal framework for Measure M and how sales tax revenues can be used:

1 reply

  1. So, a so-called “independent” taxpayers oversight committee will be chosen by Metro to make sure that Metro is aboveboard in using the new Measure M Forever Sales Tax funds. However, how independent can the committee be if the members are appointees of the Metro Board? Maybe they the taxpayer committee should be publicly elected since this is a democracy and by voting for Measure M the public will be giving up its rights to control Metro’s spending by keeping sunset clauses (end dates) written in to the law. By the very fact that Metro is offering this unenforceable concession to Measure M opponents, it is acknowledging that it could misuse the Measure M Forever Sales Tax funds. What apparently well paid Metro lawyer(s) thought this transparent “Alice in Wonderland” scheme up? I strongly suggest that we taxpayers vote down Measure M and retain our democratic fiscal authority over the Metro Board by keeping the sales tax sunset clauses.