It should come as no surprise that Los Angeles is facing yet another giant deficit -- $350 million for next year. Pretty soon there will be another round of drama and finger-pointing about how to solve it.
But before we get to that, it's worth taking a moment to congratulate a civil servant for doing something right.
Rexford Olliff is the guy in charge of estimating city revenues. Last spring,
he took a lot of heat from the City Council's "budget hawks" for making
predictions that they thought were too rosy. Bernard Parks said he was
using "pretend numbers." Councilman Dennis Zine suggested he was smoking
They had reason to be suspicious, because the previous year's revenue estimates were way off, due to the unexpected severity of the recession.
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But now we have the actual numbers for this year, and it turns out Olliff did pretty damn well this time around. We'll go so far as to say that he is owed an apology.
Olliff projected the city would take in $923.6 million through the end of November. The actual number? $927.1 million. He was off by 0.4%.
The latest report from the City Administrative Officer cautions that the revenue projections may change when some property and sales tax figures come in later this month. But for now, Olliff deserves congratulations on a job well done.
Of course it's not all good news, because the city is spending more money than it planned to spend. Once you factor in various cost-saving measures, there remains a projected deficit for this fiscal year of about $33 million.