Residents and property owners in downtown LA are voting this week on a 30-year tax to support a downtown streetcar. It isn't a parcel tax exactly but a special tax incorporating a formula to take into account how close a property is to the streetcar. This is because studies of the Portland streetcar, for example, have shown that property values increased the most for properties closest to the streetcar.

A story in the LA Times notes that "all qualified voters who live in the district will be able to cast ballots, but a majority of them are renters and they wouldn’t be the ones paying the tax. The tax instead would fall on property owners in the district, so this is one time when residency trumps wealth. Depending on your point of view, that could be seen as welcome turnabout or profoundly unjust."

Since property values are factored into the rent or the sale price, we say it makes sense.

The Los Angeles City Council created the 397-acre, three-block Streetcar Community Facilities District last summer and 7,000 registered voters will cast their ballots.

Read more in the LA Times.

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