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Published on April 23, 2024
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Proposes Budget Focusing on Homelessness, Public Safety, and City LivabilitySource: Mayor Karen Bass,City of Los Angeles

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass has unveiled a proposed budget aimed at bolstering the city's response to homelessness, enhancing public safety, and upgrading overall livability, as reported by her office. Detailing a departure from traditional fiscal plans, the new budget emphasizes the hiring of critical city positions, while axing empty desks that have long been a fixture in the city's staffing rosters.

In what's seen as a budget "reset," Mayor Bass's proposal calls for strategic investments which include a total of $950 million to combat the homeless emergency and reduce homelessness rates. This figure represents a reduction from the previous year, a move explained by the winding down on Proposition HHH fund allocations. "I am releasing a proposed budget today that makes investments to continue the urgent work we began together last year to bring thousands of unhoused people inside, make Los Angeles safer and continue delivering critical services for Angelenos," Mayor Bass said, according to a statement released by her office.

Further efforts to promote citywide safety are noted in the budget, including a sustained investment in the recruitment and retention of police officers, following a spike in police academy applications. The budget also highlights the importance of emergency services, funding the Emergency Appointment Paramedic Program to prioritize speedy responses to medical calls. Focus is also placed on the importance of an equitable and inclusive workplace for firefighters and other first responders.

City services stand to get a major uplift, with plans to fill over 5,000 currently vacant positions critical for maintaining and enhancing key city functions such as sanitation and infrastructure repair. "Vacant positions do not fill potholes, sweep streets or staff parks – and too many of these positions have been there for years because of flawed budgeting that does not reflect how departments should actually operate," Mayor Bass remarked during the press conference. Additionally, modernization of the MyLA311 system represents a leap towards improved service delivery and more informed Angelenos.

On the climate frontier, the budget continues to fund initiatives geared towards making Los Angeles a greener, more sustainable city by 2035. This includes investments in transportation electrification, water recycling, and engagement in climate justice. Youth and family opportunities, as well as measures to bolster local businesses in light of the forthcoming 2028 Games, also feature as part of the proposed fiscal agenda.

Embedding principles of responsible governance, the budget intends to refresh the city’s reserves with new revenue streams, aiming to fortify the city’s fiscal health against potential economic shocks. A notable fiscal prudence is found in maintaining a 7.91% reserve against unexpected financial downturns, surpassing the combined City Charter and City Financial Policy mandated 5%. "Last year, the Mayor and City Council made preparations for unexpected impacts and this year’s budget proposal prepares the City for unexpected economic impacts as well," the summary from Mayor Bass’s office informs.

The budget now advances to the City Council’s Budget, Finance and Innovation Committee for further scrutiny and eventual approval.