Convention Center Costs Run Amuck
Today, two city budget officials revealed that the costs to rebuild a wing of the LA Convention Center have jumped by $40 million. The project, before estimated at $275 million, will now cost taxpayers $315 million. The increase in costs are attributed to a 45,000 square-foot ballroom, a new security system, and better pathways to an outdoor plaza.
While these additions to the convention center might be great during better economic times, the reality is that Los Angeles is facing a serious budget crisis. This year Mayor Villaraigosa proposed laying off 231 city employees in a recent budget proposal, while his Chief Administrative Officer also said that the City could face bankruptcy without new tax revenue, budget cuts, and pension reform. In a year when the residents of Los Angeles are being asked to make sacrifices, city officials should not be adding to the costs of an already expensive project that may not benefit all of the city’s residents.
City officials should better allocate resources to ensure the City’s money is spent on those who can benefit from it the most. The City can start by making more investments in neighborhoods like South LA that are hurting and could use more help. In addition to investing in these communities, the City should invest in the residents that could use the assistance. Programs that focus on job training in low-income communities would be a great way to boost employment in the city. Investments in the Convention Center are a great idea, but they should not come before investments in LA’s people.