Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass signed a $13 billion city budget Friday, with an emphasis on homelessness initiatives and police funding.
Before signing the 2023-2024 budget, Bass highlighted the $1.3 billion that is planned for homelessness, calling the allocations an “investment,” as opposed to “spending.”
“This budget makes investments to bring people inside, in public safety and in other areas that will net a return in terms of lives saved, in terms of the quality of life… and it will save the city money in the long run,” Bass said in a press conference before officially signing the budget. “This budget charts a new course for a new Los Angeles.”
The “Inside Safe” program will be the beneficiary of $250 million, which would purchase hotels and motels for temporary housing, transitions to permanent housing, provide rental assistance and other support services.
More than $3 billion of the budget will be allocated to police, according to City Controller Kenneth Mejia, an amount fueled the single “no” vote from Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez.
“I voted no on the budget today,” Councilmember Hernandez said after the Council’s May 18 vote. “Budgets are a statement of values—and a budget that allocates one quarter of our entire budget to LAPD while underfunding every other department and service does not reflect my values or the values of my constituents.”
With an online petition, Black Lives Matter Los Angeles made a last-minute effort to sway the city council from increasing the LAPD budget, as it did in 2021, but the voting was still nearly unanimous.
“Every dollar spent on police is one that we don’t spend on housing, mental health, parks, youth services, and other life saving resources that Angelenos continue to make their spending priorities,” BLMLA said.
Bass said her public safety plan needed an increased police presence in the city.
With the increased funds, LAPD will seek to recruit 780 new officers and return 200 recently retired officers, which would put the current force of 9,504 above the 10,000-officer mark.
The Los Angeles Fire Department will also seek new recruits, as part of the safety plan includes a $21 million allocation to get 60 recruits in the five Drill Tower academy.
“This budget reflects our values and invests in the most critical needs of our city,” Mayor Bass said. “I am so proud that the City Council has affirmed these priorities and is joining me in building a new Los Angeles with the urgency that Angelenos deserve.”
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