LA City Council Passes $9.9 Billion Budget for 2018-2019

The Los Angeles City Council approved a $9.9 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year recently, boosting contributions to the city’s cash reserves and funding for housing projects for the homeless. In a 15-0 vote, the City Council approved a budget that will, among other things, increase staff at the 311 call center, spend over $260 million on repairs for the city’s most damaged streets and sidewalks, add 70 beds to domestic violence shelters, and fund Census 2020 outreach and educational efforts. City lawmakers also approved a series of motions Monday to boost the budget stabilization fund to $107 million – above the $104 million proposed by Mayor Eric Garcetti – and the reserve fund to $351 million, $8 million above what the mayor requested. An additional $6 million was approved by the council for a mid-year budget fund to make up for any potential shortfalls. Garcetti’s proposed budget, unveiled on April 19, relies on a projected 5.6 percent increase in revenues from property, sales and hotel taxes. Meanwhile, cannabis shops are expected to pump $10 million in additional revenue according to a May 15 report by the city’s chief legislative analyst. Total revenue from legal pot is less that what the city estimated, however: In June 2017, City Controller Ron Galperin estimated the city could see $50 million in taxes from marijuana in 2018. The proposed budget includes $2.3 million for staff to enforce laws against unlicensed cannabis businesses. It includes $91 million for Vision Zero, a project to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2025, and other traffic and pedestrian safety projects. The budget also commits $10...