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Should We Pay for the City’s Fiscal Irresponsibility?

LA WATCHDOG

LA WATCHDOG - NO. It is time for the City to adopt meaningful budget reform. 

As a result of the Krekorian led City Council and Mayor Bass approving secretly negotiated, budget busting labor agreements with the campaign funding leaders of the City’s public sector unions, Los Angeles is anticipating a $350 million to $400 million “budget gap” for its next fiscal year that begins on July 1st.  

These new agreements have long term consequences because the City is looking at deficits averaging over $400 million for the following three years beginning in July of 2025.   

The City is also $300 million behind plan for this fiscal year because of lower-than-expected revenues ($158 million) and over expenditures ($143 million). This may require the City to raid the Reserve Fund that should only be used for emergencies such as earthquakes, pandemics, or riots, not when we have a growing economy.  

The City is now considering “new revenue sources as part of its long-term financial planning.”  According to the City Administrative Officer, this would include placing measures on the ballot to increase our already high taxes.  These may include an increase in our 9½% sales tax or on our property taxes through new a new parcel tax.  

We should not allow our Elected Elite to use us as their ATM. We should reject these efforts to increase our taxes to pay for City Hall’s fiscal irresponsibility, especially because they were informed in advance that these new labor agreements would create a river of red ink.  

Rather, we must demand that the City clean up its act by enacting meaningful reform. This would include measures to: 

·       prohibit the City from entering into any new labor agreements that would create deficits,

·       conduct open and transparent labor negotiations based on the Civic Openness in Negotiations guidelines, and

·       adopt multiyear budgeting.  

City Hall and all its sycophants that are part of the Municipal and Homeless Industrial Complex will raise millions in campaign funds and bombard us with ads and mailers telling us that these new taxes are vital and necessary for the City to deliver essential services to Angelenos, whether it be for our infrastructure, public safety, city employees, or the homeless. 

They believe that by holding us and city services as hostages, we will succumb to their demands and approve these new sources of revenue, even though they are not in our best long-term interests.

But we cannot yield to their demands. We need to be resolute, stand firm, and say NO to their unreasonable demands. And we need to issue our own demands that the City adopt meaningful budget reform.

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at:  [email protected].)

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