To the editor: With thousands of municipalities in the United States facing budget problems similar to those in Los Angeles, the federal neglect of funding for our social and infrastructure needs has become as significant a threat to us as COVID-19.
We are no longer a nation that diligently saves, but rather one that borrows. In California, the Democrats fixed former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s borrowing and budgeting mistakes by passing new taxes. The Democrats may be the “tax and spend” party, but Republicans are the “spend and borrow” party.
Since we have not saved enough for the pandemic-induced budget shortfalls, we must pay with taxes. A return to the progressive marginal tax rates greater than 90% for the highest-earning Americans is a good start.
James Severtson, Reseda
To the editor: California is in a dire state during these dangerous and unstable times. Millions are out of jobs and are looking to local, state and federal governments for stability.
However, when we see cuts to programs and decreased hours, we lose confidence in our institutions. As Bob Schoonover, president of Service Employees International Union Local 721, said: “We cannot call these men and women heroes and then turn around and attempt to balance the budget on their backs.”
It’s a mistake to think that these budget cuts are entirely the result of the pandemic, whether it’s cuts to school funding or community services. This kind of budgeting has long been present in this country, and the pandemic has only brought it under focus.
Passing the Schools and Communities First initiative this November, which would make some changes to Proposition 13, is essential for our state. It will create reliable funding that will not only allow us to prepare for crises like these, but also help alleviate the hardships we were already facing.
Gillian Garaci, San Francisco
To the editor: The L.A. Times Editorial Board squandered an opportunity to come clean with its readers on Los Angeles’ ailing budget.
It correctly pointed out that “the city was already headed for some budget turbulence of its own making,” but did not note one major reason why: out-of-control government employee pensions. Democratic leaders have promised again and again to bring these costs under control, but they have failed to do so.
Virus or no virus, the train wreck was already coming; it’s just careening into the station a little earlier now.
Keith Hagaman, Marina del Rey