Crisis mode

first_img160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Sure, Los Angeles has seen a city budget surplus of $1 billion evaporate and a $300 million deficit take its place, but this is not a crisis – at least that’s what City Administrative Officer Karen Sisson says. “`Crisis,’ to me, implies that you haven’t thought about it and you don’t know how to get out of it,” Sisson explains. “And I think we have thought about it, and we have planned for it, so in that sense, it’s not a crisis.” Oh, that’s funny, because a few weeks ago, the City Council unanimously proclaimed the situation an “emergency,” thus enabling it to put a fraudulent phone tax on the Feb. 5 ballot. But even if we accept Sisson’s claim that something can’t be a “crisis” if city leaders have “thought about it,” that’s hardly reassuring. Because city officials don’t seem to have given the budget much thought at all. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsEven as revenues soared at an average annual rate of 5.7 percent since 2000, city leaders jacked up compensation for L.A.’s bureaucrats at an even greater 7.5 percent a year. Now they’ve signed off on 23 percent wage increases over the next five years – raises that come on top of numerous annual step increases for most employees. Meanwhile, the housing downturn is predicted to slow revenue growth to only 1.3 percent next year, and it could get worse if a recession occurs. The result: A city that’s rapidly growing broke. City leaders are now scurrying to impose the phony phone tax and siphon more money out of the Department of Water and Power. They’ve also hinted at raiding trash-hike fees that were supposed to pay for hiring of new cops. If this is what passes as “thinking” in City Hall, then this “crisis” is worse than anyone thinks. last_img

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