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LA Mayor Eric Garcetti Approves $11.2B City Budget

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Mayor Eric Garcetti Wednesday approved the city's $11.2 billion budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year, a budget he said provides unprecedented funding for homelessness and other social service programs to support the city's most vulnerable populations.

Garcetti Signs Budget
Mayor Eric Garcetti Wednesday signed the city's $11.2 billion budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year. (CBSLA)

"This budget is about more than recovering from a once in a generation crisis; it's about bending the arc of our city's history in the direction of greater equity and justice," Garcetti said. "This moment demands nothing less than our most courageous efforts to lift up those in need, and this budget charts a course to meeting our highest ambitions, restoring what we've lost, and building on what makes Los Angeles the best city in the world."

The budget includes more than $1.7 billion for the Los Angeles Police Department, a 3% increase from last year; a total of $955 million to address the city's homelessness crisis; $62 million to help tourism and hospitality businesses; $33 million for the Gang Reduction and Youth Development Program; $30 million to expand the city's solar energy and electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and $29 million for a guaranteed basic income pilot program.

"My hopes are that it will be spent much more wisely and prudently to immediately get people off the streets," Rev. Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission, said. "So I don't think, no matter how much money we pour at this, if we don't do it urgently to rescue people immediately from the streets, we're going to do it soon enough."

And Gov. Gavin Newsom who was out picking up trash in Lynwood as part of a series of photo opportunities planned throughout the Southland called the state's homelessness crisis unacceptable.

"These encampments are out of control in the state of California," he said. "The needles, the feces, it's unacceptable. It's unacceptable. It's the ultimate manifestation of our failure."

Garcetti initially introduced what he called his "justice budget" during his state of the city address this last April. On Wednesday, he said the budget would help the city "emerge from this year of trauma and uncertainty into the first steps of possibility and towards hope."

However, with more money than ever in the budget to tackle the city's unhoused population, it remained unclear whether Garcetti would be here to see it through, with the Associated Press reporting that he is President Joe Biden's choice for ambassador to India.

The budget, which is the largest spending plan in city history, will go into effect July 1.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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