A proposed half-percent sales tax increase that divided the business community was defeated in Tuesday’s election with 55 percent of voters against it. Measure A, or the “neighborhood public safety and vital city services funding and accountability measure,” would have raised the sales tax in Los Angeles to 9.5 percent and raised about $200 million a year. The Los Angeles City Council approved the proposition in November. The Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) board of directors voted to oppose the tax measure shortly after its introduction. Wednesday, VICA President Stuart Waldman had mixed feelings about the result. “It’s not something that we can necessarily call a victory,” he said. “Our city is still in dire straights. But voters told city leaders that revenue enhancements are not the solution.” The solution, to Waldman, comes in treating the city like a business. “When a business is in trouble, you don’t turn around and raise your prices,” he said. One of the larger business groups in favor of the increase was the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. The organization warned that with a forthcoming $200 million deficit in the next fiscal year, the additional revenue would be essential in staving off significant cuts in the number of police officers, firefighters and paramedics on the streets.