For Immediate Release
January 17, 2023

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association sent a letter to Los Angeles City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto on Tuesday advising that plans to authorize $500,000 in spending to implement Measure ULA may put the city at risk of financial loss and legal action.

The City Council’s Housing and Homelessness Committee is set to vote Wednesday on a motion to spend taxpayer funds to establish the House LA Fund, House LA Program and Oversight Committee. The proposal is in preparation to spend the estimated $800 million to be collected annually under a real estate transfer tax imposed by Measure ULA, which was approved by city voters in the November election. The city’s advance spending would be reimbursed from the proceeds of the tax, expected to begin on April 1.

However, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association together with the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles are suing the city in what is known as a “reverse validation” action, seeking to have Measure ULA declared invalid. Cities are prohibited by the state constitution from imposing real estate transfer taxes if the money from the tax is is dedicated to a special purpose, as is the case with Measure ULA. Additionally, the Los Angeles City Charter prohibits any legislation by initiative that the city government itself would be barred from enacting.

“As Measure ULA’s validity remains unresolved, it is premature, unwise and wasteful to spend taxpayer dollars on programming that may or may not occur,” wrote HJTA Director of Legal Affairs Laura Dougherty. “Further, if Measure ULA is invalidated, the City will not be repaid the $500,000 as the motion’s text expressly promises. Thus the City, its officers, and agents would risk financial loss as well as legal action under Code of Civil Procedure section 526a or other laws.”

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in December, is case number 22STCV39662: Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles v. City of Los Angeles, and All Persons Interested in the Matter of Measure ULA.