Measure Would Restore Library Funding

A March ballot measure would increase funding to libraries without raising taxes

View Comments ()
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Measure L would gradually increase the percentage libraries receives from property tax revenues so libraries could add hours, buy books and maintain library programs.

    A measure on next month's ballot would allow Los Angeles libraries to restore services they have had to continuously cut recently.

    Measure L would gradually increase the percentage libraries receives from property tax revenues so libraries could add hours, buy books and maintain library programs, according to the proposal.

    No taxes will be added; rather, libraries will eventually receive .03 percent of the general fund, as opposed to the .0175 percent they receive now.

    Following Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's recent spending plan, library hours in the Los Angeles Public Library, which includes a Central Library and 72 neighborhood branches, have been reduced from seven days a week to five for the first time in the library system's history.

    Measure L would allow libraries to add the additional days as well as address recent library staff cuts during the next four years.

    From 2014 onwards, libraries would be responsible for their own direct and indirect costs, including health, pension, building services and utilities.

    However, since libraries do not generate funds, the measure would add $6 million to the projected $319 million general fund deficit projected for 2011-2012.

    Also, since it is taking a larger portion of existing funds, other areas will experience reduced funding.

    The Los Angeles Police Protective League opposes the measure for this reason, according to the Los Angeles Times. The league's president told the newspaper he has concerns about the measure taking from "other needs, including public safety."

    Currently the Library budget consists of less than 2 percent of the overall Los Angeles budget.

    Councilmember Bernard Parks said in a release that he supports the measure because of the help libraries provide to Los Angeles, from after-school programs to a place for the unemployed to search for jobs.

    "Severe budget cuts to school libraries and afterschool programs have elevated the importance of neighborhood libraries in our children’s education," Parks said in the release. "Measure L asks the public to codify and enshrine in the City Charter, their commitment and support for the Library system by guaranteeing a higher level of funding that can not be stripped away by the mayor or city council."