When you vote this March 5, you will see Measure A on the ballot. It was placed there by the Los Angeles City Council and if it passes, it will increase the sales tax to 9.5%. Our city hall faces at least $1 billion in deficits over the next 4 years. Their idea is to increase revenue to cover those deficits.
The people of LA cannot afford to pay more and more to receive less and less. The city already spends $7.2 billion every year. We don't have a revenue problem. We have a budget problem. We need to enact Performance Based Budgeting, create 3 year budgets, and reform our public safety pension plans.
We changed the police and fire pension plans in 2001 to payout 90% of their pay after age 50. People said we could do it because we would get investment returns that mirrored the dot com bubble of the 1990s. It never happened.
That created a gap in funding that the city took from other areas in the budget like sidewalk repairs, tree trimming, and basic services. Over time, the deficit increased and prevented the city from hiring new firefighters. When we stopped hiring new firefighters in 2007, we created an exponentially increasing deficit that will continue to grow until we are bankrupt within 5 years.
Passing new taxes is the only answer if you refuse to create sustainable pension plans. Politicians who depend on unions to get elected will not touch the pension plans. They will push revenue increases. Problem is, the deficits coming out of the pension plans are not static. They are increasing and even this sales tax increase won't cover them after one year. Because they grow each year.
People are still struggling to recover from this recession. They cannot afford more taxes and fees to prop up a broken pension system. Reform the pensions now to free up the money to hire more police officers and fire fighters. Reform the pensions now to save them from disappearing in bankruptcy. Reform the pensions now and stop the cycle of broken politics and stop making the residents of LA suffer for politics.