Friday, February 05, 2010

Los Angeles City Council Practically Inviting People To Leave

Sherman Oaks, California

There's a reason why people leave.

While I will be focusing this blog more on travel and expat issues, today's post is about a Los Angeles concern which might apply to you or anyone else who has ever contemplated moving abroad.

Some places drive people out.

People leave Los Angeles because it becomes too expensive to raise a family. Others decide one day that the traffic is too much. A few wake from their Hollywood dream and return home.

And some people are repulsed by a local government that consistently maintains its own revenue and power at the taxpayers' expense.

The dysfunction of California has been a media meme for several months. In sum, the unions which represent public-sector employees have grown considerably in political power in the past 15 years. The unions' demands have led to a situation in which public employees (1) earn more money than counterparts in the private sector, (2) receive pensions that are unheard-of outside government, yet (3) enjoy civil service protections that insulate them from market forces, accountability or the realistic possibility of lay offs or terminations.

Due to sharp tax revenue declines over the past three years, state and local governments have to choose between seriously cutting their budgets or raising taxes during an economic downturn.

Guess which option the L.A. City Council prefers?

As noted in today's Daily News, Council members are considering a parcel tax -- which appears to be a flat fee to be imposed on each parcel of privately owned land within city limits -- along with other, unspecified measures.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn showed where her priorities were. "My goal is we find jobs for every one of our city employees," she said, noting that any laid off employees should be matched with vacant positions in other departments. That's not how I define "laid off."

The political class seems to think that L.A. is composed only of wealthy liberals, an impoverished underclass, and a government sector which takes money from the liberals while pretending to serve the poor.

If the Council keeps at it, those might be the only people left in L.A.

Photo: When not seeking to protect the job of every city employee, councilwoman Janice Hahn likes to pander to various ethnic voting blocs.

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