The Budget and COVID-19

The catastrophic loss of life from COVID-19 throughout our country and the world has been an immense tragedy that none of us will ever forget. Throughout the crisis, our Mayor and our Governor have shown tremendous leadership, which has been sorely lacking elsewhere in our national response.  Our "Safer at Home" policies unquestionably have saved countless lives here in Los Angeles.

At the same time, the seriousness of the virus and the dramatic steps that have been necessary to ensure the public's safety have taken a staggering toll on jobs, income and financial security. In Los Angeles and throughout the country, working people and small businesses are suffering tremendous economic pain. Now and in the months to come, we must maintain a fierce commitment to preserve both lives AND livelihoods.

Later today, Mayor Garcetti will unveil his proposed budget for the coming fiscal year, and the outlook will certainly be grim. As the economy of our city suffers, so do the revenues that make up the city's budget, and sharp reductions in revenues must result in some decline in city services. The only question is the extent.

Still, the City's very robust reserves will provide a vital cushion. In the eight years that I have served as Budget Committee Chair, we saved the City from potential bankruptcy during the Great Recession by insisting upon fiscal responsibility and discipline. As a result of those eight years of hard work, the City budget this year included emergency reserves that were the highest in the history of the City. Those reserves will be imperative now that we are experiencing this unprecedented time of crisis. Some people refer to reserves as a "rainy day" fund, and there is no question we're in the middle of the greatest storm we've ever seen right now.

We will have more days of hardship ahead of us, but I have no question that we will get through this crisis together, as we always do here in Los Angeles. And throughout it all, I will remain entirely committed to keeping people safe, getting L.A. back to work, and building the foundation for the better days that lie ahead.