Libraries and parks are closing. Enforcement of housing code laws are being virtually stopped along with street paving, tree trimming, sidewalk repair. Water and power rates are going up and up along with virtually every fee and fine, from ambulances to parking violations.
If you live in LA or do business in the city, you are getting slugged with the bills for years of fiscal mismanagement, back room deals and sweetheart contracts by your mayor and City Council members.
You are captive LA, hostages paying for the misfeasance and malfeasance of the people you were dumb enough to elect to be your public servants.
If you own a home or business, you get hit with double or triple DWP rates supposedly because we don’t have enough water and power and you are stuck where you are even as they trash your neighborhood with cuts in services and approvals of new developments that change the character of your neighborhood for the worse.
But if you’re an out-of-towner, have we got deals for you.
How’s a tax holiday sound. No gross receipts tax on your business for three years. Or how about a 25 percent cut in your DWP rates and guaranteed priority service?
Those were the new policies announced Tuesday by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and de facto Mayor Austin Beutner.
They call it job creation. But it’s really job buying — a shift in policy from buying jobs with tax dollars in the public sector to buying jobs in the private sector with tax dollars.
The result ultimately will be the same: Higher costs to the captive public and fewer jobs for everyone, more poverty.
That’s because a city with inadequate basic services like parks and libraries, deteriorating housing and neighborhoods, aging infrastructure, poor schools isn’t really an attractive proposition to businesses looking to locate or expand.
It’s a downward spiral, the whirlpool to oblivion that have been sucking LA downwards for years as the middle class hostages escape to the suburbs and neighboring states and the gap between rich and poor grows.
When there’s so many poor people that you can’t provide decent housing or education or jobs, when a “living wage” subsidized by taxpayers is called a good job, when little kids are gunned down in the street in gang-infested neighborhoods, you aren’t going to generate a lot of new jobs without buying them.
A few years ago, City Hall gave new start-up businesses a two-year tax holiday if their gross receipts were less than $500,000 a year. Now, it’s three years and no limit on revenue. A few years from now, it will take direct subsidies and tax breaks for five or 10 years.
In the meantime, more jobs keep leaving than coming.
The occasion chosen by the mayor and de facto mayor to announce their new scheme was not even a company deciding to relocate in LA. It was the pharmaceutical giant Baxter International deciding to keep its bioscience plant in Atwater Village. They didn’t even buy new jobs in this deal but keep them from leaving.
“Today we are bearing the fruit from an aggressive strategy by the
Mayor’s Office of Economic and Business Policy, led by Austin Beutner,
that is working to attract businesses and create the good paying jobs
Angelenos need to see them through these tough economic times,”
Villaraigosa said in a statement.
Added Beutner: “We continue to work to develop and implement policies to help retain
the employers who are located in Los Angeles to attract new businesses
providing good-paying jobs…As the nation’s largest municipal utility, our customer base is big
enough to accommodate new business customers with this type of
discount. Ultimately, this program may create savings
in the future since there will be more customers to share in those fixed
The spin is dizzying — creating good-paying jobs by paying a company not to leave, may create savings in the future by increasing the demand for water and power and public services?
What’s so hard to understand about what creates good jobs is a dynamic city with good services provided at a cost people can afford, healthy neighborhoods, safe streets, good schools and a spirit that brings people together for the common good — not a leadership that segments and separates people by race and region.
We are on the road to ruin and these kinds of policies just accelerate the speed at which we’re getting to the point of no return.