L.A. Budget Fix? City Analyst Suggests More Parking Tickets, Fees for On-Scene Medical Treatment and 911 Calls
When the Los Angeles City Council is low on cash, they tend not to look to their own overfunded executive offices -- or alleged untouchables like the corrupt, bulging Housing Authority -- for the answer.
Nope: They look to their broke-ass constituents, already drowning in a dismal economy (even worse as of today, we hear), if not completely jobless.
In a report prepared by Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller and being mulled by City Councilmembers, in which Miller proposes 15-odd ways the city could fix its budget crisis without voter consent, a few hidden taxes stand out as particularly insulting:
Formalize and post no-parking for all street sweeping areas ($30 million per year)
City sweeps 4,400 miles of streets on a weekly basis and posts "no parking Tuesday 12pm-6am" type signs on the swept streets. City also sweeps about 8,000 miles of streets that are not posted. These are swept every 4 weeks. If the un-posted streets were posted and enforced additional parking fine revenue ... would be generated.
Ambulance Billings ($3.5 million per year)
Explore feasibility of charging for "treatment/non-transport" for any medical treatment provided at the scene (Medicare non-reimbursable). Currently, the City only charged for the cost of transporting patients to the hospital.
New recovery fees for L.A. Fire Department
Charge stand-by fees for special events. Charge for the cost of removing standing or rushing water. Charge individuals for rescue services, as authorized by the State Government Code.
And here's one that would require voter approval, for good reason:
Recovery fee for cost of 911 and dispatch operations ($65 million per year)
A fee charged per line on every phone bill. Amount designed to recover the cost of the emergency call center. ... Preliminary estimate is a fee of $2.25/line/mo.
Miller includes some other privatization ideas -- like for parking garages (long messy history behind that one) and the L.A. Zoo -- but the fact that indirect taxation is even on the table at a time like this is damn silly. Insult to injury: The wealthiest Californians of all continue to pay no taxes at all.
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