Coverage of L.A. ‘pothole tax’ never mentions why budget is bare

Coverage of L.A. ‘pothole tax’ never mentions why budget is bare

dd-posterThe city of Los Angeles’ finances are in terrible shape. The city’s economy is sluggish and revenue is stagnant. Meanwhile, retirement benefits for retired city workers — especially police and firefighters — eat up ever more of the budget.

“As of June 30, 2013, the City’s two pension funds, the $17 billion Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System and the $20 billion Fire and Police Pension Plans, were only 74% funded. As a result, over half of this year’s pension contribution of $950 million (19% of the budget) will help to amortize a small portion of this unfunded pension liability.

“Over the next three years, the City’s pension contributions will increase by $250 million (over 25%) to $1.2 billion, representing 23% of the City’s budget.  This is after a 150%, $650 million increase during the Villaraigosa era, fueled primarily by a four time, $475 million increase in the contributions to the Fire and Police Pension Plans.”

That’s from a City Watch LA report.

So how is the city dealing with this mess? With a transparent ploy. Two weeks ago, almost certainly at the behest of new Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller recommended that the City Council put a half-cent sales tax hike on the November ballot to “pay for repairs of the worst streets and sidewalks.” This would raise $4.5 billion over 15 years.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this is about getting new revenue into L.A. City Hall by any means possible. This is a city that can’t pay its bills.

It’s all about roads and sidewalks — not pensions. Huh?

But insanely enough, Los Angeles Daily News City Hall reporter Dakota Smith and her editors continue to buy the spin that this is about potholes and not pensions.

“A proposal to raise Los Angeles’ sales tax to pay for road and sidewalk repairs received its first public hearing Wednesday night, as city officials gingerly laid out a $4.5 billion plan before a gathering of neighborhood leaders.

“About 50 people attended a City Hall hearing on the measure, which would raise the L.A.’s sales tax to 9.5 percent if endorsed by the City Council and approved by voters in November.

“Armed with a PowerPoint display, the city detailed why federal dollars are unavailable to help fix L.A.’s worst streets and sidewalks and how the additional funds raised would be used. At least 8,700 lane miles of street would be repaired under the proposal, officials said.”

If naivete were a crime, the reporters and editors on the L.A. Daily News politics team would be facing life imprisonment. Dumb de dumb dumb.


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  1. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 4 April, 2014, 10:45

    YES, raise the sales tax, AGAIN, harm the poor with the most regressive- but easiest to raise- tax in America.

    Because, “it is for the kids” 🙂

    And Teddy Steals 😉

    Reply this comment
    • Donkey
      Donkey 4 April, 2014, 17:01

      Rex, the poor need to pay for the excessive pay, benefits, and pensions the PS RAGWUS feeders demand from their bought and paid for politicians. The PS RAGWUS believes the citizens should fund their ill-gotten gains with purchases from Home Depot and Lowes. It will just lead to more blight and older cars. 🙂

      Reply this comment
      • Rex the Wonder Dog!
        Rex the Wonder Dog! 4 April, 2014, 21:17

        But Donk- Teddy “earned” his pension 😉

        Reply this comment
        • Donkey
          Donkey 5 April, 2014, 07:52

          The highly inflated pay, benefits, and pensions the RAGWUS feeders have endeared themselves too is on par with the neighborhood thief randomly stopping citizens as they work in their yards and telling them they have a great deal on surplus speakers or tools. You know it is stolen, because it can’t be sold for such a low price, but the RAGWUS feeder doesn’t care because “he deserves.” 🙂

          Reply this comment
  2. John Seiler
    John Seiler 4 April, 2014, 21:05

    We’ll probably see another influx of people into free O.C. after fleeing socialist L.A.

    Reply this comment
  3. Donkey
    Donkey 5 April, 2014, 07:56

    By “free” John do you mean HUD housing, EBT cards, better schools, or our lower sales, business, and property taxes. I guess we can include all of the costs. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  4. Colt Connor
    Colt Connor 5 April, 2014, 10:30


    If you were a regular reader of Dakota Smith’s by-line in the quite-centrist Daily News, you’d know that she’s written extensively about L.A.’s budget woes vis a vis the outrageous pensions paid to both DWP and city workers. Your insinuation that she’s a shill for either public workers or for Garcetti isn’t proven by her reporting. You’re making a fair enough point about this one, short story, but in toto, she’s one of the fairest, most capable journalists writing in L.A.

    Reply this comment
  5. Chris Reed
    Chris Reed Author 5 April, 2014, 17:24


    I have only read Dakota Smith’s coverage of the “pothole tax” in the past month. If she is a strong reporter otherwise, then this is really baffling.

    How can any of these stories not have as a central focus WHY L.A. can’t fund basic services? Mind-boggling.

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 5 April, 2014, 23:30

    No economic hub can grow when most of the opportunities are slave labor service jobs created by globalists….they suck out every dollar from LA., the second armpit of California.

    There is hope….McDonalds pays about 18 bucks per hour in the Dakotas….time of the year to call Ulysses about moving specials!

    Reply this comment

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