Here are statements from city leaders on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s budget proposal:
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, chair of the Budget and Finance Committee:
Since 2008, this city has been forced to deal with the worst recession in our lifetime, which has resulted in significant deficits every year. At the same time, the city has struggled to address a structural deficit that has caused a reduction in the services on which our residents depend. Our budget must reflect our city’s values, and our commitment to public safety and core services, yet it must also be based on a long term strategic vision based on efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability.
Our collective success in formulating such a budget will determine the future of Los Angeles and whether we will have a city that does not merely remain solvent, but is set on an enduring path to growth. It cannot be acceptable to any Angeleno to continue a seemingly endless process of delaying hard choices and slowly bleeding city services away.
Controller (and mayoral candidate) Wendy Greuel:
The city cannot continue depending on one-time solutions to close the budget gap. Long-term solutions must be implemented. While the first phase of Performance Based Budgeting provides some transparency to the city’s budget process, full implementation is necessary to understand how each and every tax dollar is spent.
I do have some concerns about some very important budgetary solutions that are missing from the proposed budget that I have expressed previously. Since being elected Controller, I have found dozens of instances of waste, inefficiency, abuse and fraud. We have identified more than $130 million in wasteful spending. Why hasn’t the city improved debt collection or cut down on duplication of services? Why do millions of dollars of gasoline, purchased by city taxpayers, remain totally unaccounted for?
Instead of answers, we are faced with a budget that lays off hundreds of employees and, consequently, cuts services for our residents.
Our residents need and deserve more.
Instead of layoffs, we should go after the millions in wasteful spending and discretionary accounts that are sitting untouched. City policies need to be changed to stop the revenue diversion into discretionary funds and bring those tax dollars back to the General Fund. As I have highlighted repeatedly, funds from the Real Property Trust Funds, AB1290 Redevelopment Funds, and Street Furniture Funds all need to go to the General Fund before the mayor or council propose one layoff. These policies must change immediately.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck:
What’s going to happen in the Los Angeles Police Department is we’re going to have to restructure how we do our clerical functions. There will be an impact to some of the services that the public is used to getting, things like reports, copies of different materials, things like that … So, there will be an impact on that.
Our goal, my goal with the mayor on this budget is not to impact public safety. Public safety is the number one responsibility of the police department. This budget allows us to maintain public safety in the city of Los Angeles. It also restructures the budget of the Los Angeles Police Department in a way that is sustainable through the years. If we were to stop hiring police officers, we would begin a spiral of reduced public safety that would take years to regenerate. This allows us to maintain public safety, reduce our budget over the long term, and bring the city the kind of policing that it deserves.