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City Controller Wendy Greuel Releases City's Economic Forecast

Greuel who lives in Studio City, Urges City Leaders to Be Transparent and Focus on Structural Budgetary Changes.

With the City of Los Angeles facing up to a $200 million budget deficit next year, the City’s chief accountant, City Controller Wendy Greuel, released the economic forecast for the City of Los Angeles for the upcoming fiscal year 2012-2013.  

“We need to be realistic about what an economic uptick means,” said Greuel. “Projections and revenues are down and recovery will take a long time. My job is to deal with both the problems that confront us today and in the future. Today, Los Angeles is facing a budget shortfall. There is no magic formula to balance the books, but I want to be clear: if the City comes up with gimmicks to balance the budget then the people of Los Angeles need to know about it.  I strongly believe that it's time for our City to focus on long-term solutions that will get us back to fiscal solvency, because if we don't, Los Angeles’ economic footing could be further jeopardized if the City continues to rely on excessive deferral of obligations and one time solutions.”

Excluding transfers from the Reserve Fund and surplus special funds, the City’s General Fund is projected to receive $4.33 billion in revenues in 2012 and $4.38 billion in 2013, an increase of 1.1 percent over the last fiscal year. Controller Greuel expects the City to receive $6.6 billion in on-budget revenue for 2012 and $6.58 billion for 2013, which is relatively flat from year to year.   Greuel said the City needs to revise its current year projections by $31.5 million primarily due to the loss of the State’s Vehicle Licensing Fee and a reduction in departmental receipts from licenses, permits and fees. 

Controller Greuel provides this economic forecast to the Mayor and City Council each year so they can have all of the relevant fiscal information as they create the City’s budget for the following year.  Every year the Controller meets with leading economists, reviews the economic forecasts of UCLA, the State Department of Finance, the State Legislative Analyst Office and the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation to compile a projected economic forecast for the coming year.  

Some of the highlights of the report include:

·        For fiscal year 2012-2013, the Controller anticipates that property tax receipts are expected to increase by $29.2 million to $1.46 billion.

·        The Controller also projects that business tax and departmental receipts from licenses, permits and fees will come in below what was budgeted for 2011-2012, while sales tax and transient occupancy tax will come in above budget. 

·        Additionally, for fiscal year 2012-2013, the Controller has zeroed out one-time transfers from other funds, including $16.5 million from the Special Parking Revenue Fund and $8.9 from the Reserve Fund.

·        The Controller anticipates the City need to borrow $400 million in Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (TRANs) next year to cover cash flow for the first six months of the fiscal year.    

·        The City will be required to pay $167.2 million in debt service for general obligation bonds next year. 

See attached letter and financial report to City leaders from City Controller Greuel.

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