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FAQs about LA’s $13 billion budget

Posted on 05/27/2023


How does the budget work?

The city budget dictates how we spent our money for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1st.

First, about a month before it’s set to be voted on, the Mayor releases her proposed budget, which comes from conversations with the public, all the city departments, and councilmembers. Over the next few weeks, councilmembers, city departments, and the Mayor all have meetings and negotiations over which priorities they want to fund for the upcoming year.

A couple weeks before the budget vote, City Council’s budget committee formalizes amendments to the Mayor’s proposal based on each councilmembers’ negotiations. 

Then, the full City Council votes on the budget, and if passed, it goes to the Mayor for her signature so it can be officially adopted.

Will the homelessness funding actually make a difference?

We allocated an unprecedented $1.3 billion to solving homelessness through services and housing in this budget. As recently as 2015, we were only spending one-tenth of that, and 90% of it was going to enforcement. This year’s budget has changed that dramatically. 

So even though we are facing enormous challenges when it comes to homelessness, that also means we have so much room for improvement. For example, the city has fewer than 400 beds for the over 3,000 unhoused individuals in our district, leading to a nightly occupancy rate between 97%-100% in CD13. 

With these investments, we can finally begin to meaningfully expand our capacity to help our unhoused neighbors with interim and permanent housing, so they aren’t forced to live in the streets.

Why vote “yes” on the budget given its flaws?

This budget was very far from perfect, and we’re still not where we want to be, but the budget that was passed is still by far the most progressive budget in the history of LA. It represents the first step on the path toward the City we deserve, and it shows that the city is finally taking our homelessness crisis seriously.

In the weeks leading up to the budget vote, we were successfully able to shift around hundreds of millions of dollars for community investment and services that will lift families out of poverty, keep people in their homes, and bring folks out of homelessness. 

Even though a “no” vote would have signaled that we still have a long way to go to get where we need to be, it wouldn’t have changed the result of the budget.

I want our city budget to solve homelessness, build more affordable housing, give us true public safety, build out a world class public transit system, and fix our broken infrastructure. Does this budget get us there? No, but we are closer than ever before. And next year, we'll get even closer.

Is the budget final?

No. Even though City Council passed the “final” budget, we’ll still have the chance to reallocate money and make changes every quarter. The budget is a yearlong process, and we need your help, your comments, your calls, and your support to continue pushing our public money in the right direction.

Read Beverly Press’ on what services are coming to Hollywood from the budget

Two More Quick Hits!

Watch our weekly recap!

1. Robot Dog Passes City Council, Setting a Dangerous Precedent for Automated and Biased Policing

On Tuesday, despite enormous community opposition, City Council approved LAPD's use of a "robot dog." During the contentious meeting before the vote, the machine’s manufacturer refused to tell us how much they’ll profit off of this. And LAPD tried to deny their own data showing how technology like drones are disproportionately used to target Black and brown communities. 

The vote’s outcome was extremely disheartening, but we must keep pushing to make our communities safer and to fight back against policies that'll hurt our most vulnerable residents. 

Check out our social media thread with clips from the meeting

2. Sanctuary City Ordinance Passes Committee (again)

After passing through City Council’s Civil Rights Committee, our Sanctuary City Ordinance with Councilmembers Eunisses Hernandez and Nithya Raman was approved by the Public Safety Committee this week, and it will move to the full City Council for a vote.

Now more than ever, we need to enshrine Sanctuary City protections into law so that all residents, regardless of documentation status, can interact with the government without fear of retribution or deportation.