By Jose Herrera
City News Service
LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass unveiled a nearly $13 billion proposed city budget Tuesday, April 18, for the 2023-24 fiscal year, which she said reflects the city’s values and invests in the most critical needs, including homelessness, public safety and funding a “new LA.”
“There is a difference between spending and investing,” Bass said during a news conference. “There is a difference between spending and investing. This budget makes investments in bringing people inside and public safety, and other areas that will lead a return in terms of saving lives, in terms of quality of life and better neighborhoods.”
The mayor’s proposed spending plan projects short-term stability, but at a slower than historical growth rate in the city’s tax revenues of only 2.4%. The overall general fund budget will grow by 5.6%. in part due to a $115 million transfer from the reserve fund. Bass’ budget proposal includes reserves of 10.03%, just above the 10% target set in the city’s financial policies.
Bass emphasized her budget is “strong” and fiscally solvent, saying it will allow her administration to set ambitious goals for the city’s future.
The proposed budget commits an “unprecedented” $1.3 billion to address the city’s homelessness crisis. In addition, nearly $250 million will scale up the mayor’s Inside Safe program citywide, a plan to bring people inside from tents and encampments, with the goal of housing 17,000 Angelenos in the first year.
Key areas of the budget for Inside Safe will allocate $110 million to pay for motel and other interim housing costs; $47 million to acquire motels and hotels to reduce future program costs; $10 million set aside for staff including directors and property managers as well as administrative funding for service providers; $62 million for ongoing services such as case management, food, residential staff and support services; and $21 million for the development of transition and permanent housing, and the establishment of a 12-month rental assistance program.
“This budget breaks new ground by funding the purchase of hotels and motels, which will reduce costs compared with renting rooms,” Bass said. “This is long overdue and something that the community sees as just common sense.”
She said the spending proposal will commit funding to the Los Angeles Police Department and efforts to bolster its dwindling ranks, with the goal of increasing the number of officers to 9,504. Bass said she wants the city to support the hiring and training of new officers, and also provide funds to bring back recently retired officers to the department for up to 12 months.
Her spending plan also includes about $1 million to expedite the application process for candidates looking to join the LAPD. The city is also developing an incentive program that will provide bonuses of up to $15,000 for new officers and lateral recruitment.
“This budget supports urgent efforts to also grow the police department to make up for attrition to reach an end of the year size of 2,500 [new] officers,” Bass said. “This is an ambitious goal, but we must be bold to change the downward trend in the size of the LAPD as we work to restore the department to its full size.”