|Do The Math: There Is No L.A. "Budget Crisis"
Walter Moore[attorney, L.A. mayoral candidate]11/20/07
L.A.'s Mayor Villaraigosa wants you to believe you need to pay higher taxes to solve a supposed "budget crisis."
In fact, there is no "budget crisis."
The City takes in more money than ever -- more than enough money to hire 1000 more police, even if voters refuse to reinstate the illegal cell phone tax of 2003 that the Superior Court threw out in July 2005.
Let's do the math:
City Hall takes in $6.7 billion in revenues per year.
That's more than $1.4 billion per year more than in 2004-05.
Even if the entire phone tax suddenly disappeared -- rather than just the illegal cell phone tax hike of 2003 -- revenues would decline by $270 million per year, less than 4% of the budget. That means City Hall would still receive $1.17 billion per year more than in 2004-05.
The starting salary for an LAPD officer is $54,475. At that rate, City Hall could hire 1000 additional police officers for approximately $54 million per year.
Hence, even if the entire phone tax were thrown out, and even if City Hall then hired an additional 1000 police officers, City Hall would still have $1.1 billion per year more to spend than in 2004-05.
Does that sound like a crisis to you? Of course not!
City Hall knows it's not a crisis, so Villaraigosa and the City Council try to fool you by referring only to the "general fund" rather than the entire budget. The general fund is just one of over 50 budget funds in the City budget.
Money in the general fund can be used for any lawful purpose. The other funds are so-called "special funds," which are ear-marked for particular purposes.
City Hall spends $3.7 billion per year through the general fund, and the remaining $3 billion in the budget through the special funds.
Rather than seeking your approval to re-allocate money from the special funds to hire police, the career politicians act as though it's beyond their control.
Let's assume for the sake of argument that they cannot spend the special funds to hire more police. Even if that were true, and even if the entire phone tax were repealed, there would still be more than enough money in the general fund to hire more police. Here's why:
The general fund takes in $477 million more per year than in 2004-05. Even if you subtracted $270 million in phone tax revenues, the general fund would still take in $207 million more per year than in 2004-05.
As noted above, the salary of 1000 additional officers would total about $54 million per year. So even with the tax cut, and even after hiring 1000 additional officers, the general fund would still have $153 million more per year than in 2004-05.
Bottom line: there is no "budget crisis." We don't need "hire" taxes. We need honest people in office, who won't waste your money, and won't try to mislead you.
As detailed on the "Spreadsheet of Shame" post, moreover, City Hall is squandering hundreds of millions of dollars of your tax money every year. There's more than enough money in the budget to pay for the new police officers we need. CRO
2007 Walter Moore