How the Budget Works

Though it is supposed to be open and public, the LA City Budget process is relatively opaque. The below information is from the CAO’s office who works with the Mayor’s Office to prepare and present the budget. We will continue to update this page with more detailed information.


July 1

New fiscal year begins and the budget goes into action.

August

The mayor releases a budget policy letter to define the city’s priorities for the next fiscal year. The mayor sets the budget priorities and develops the budget.

September-October

All city departments work on their budgets for the next fiscal year.

November

City departments continue to work on their budgets. City department budget proposals are due to the mayor’s office by end of November.

December-January

The mayor’s office and city departments meet to discuss and revise their budgets.

February-March

The mayor’s budget team continues to make decisions and they finalize the budget.

April 20

By April 20, the mayor must present a proposed budget to City Council. Unless this falls on a weekend or a holiday in which case, it is the next business day.

April-May

City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee considers the budget, holding various public hearings and hearing from a variety of city departments. Their recommendations move onto full City Council meetings for approval.

June 1

By June 1, City Council must vote to adopt or modify the mayor’s budget.

Between June 1 and July 1

If the City Council votes to modify the budget, the mayor has five days to approve or veto. Our City Charter explains how this process can go back and forth throughout June so the budget is ready for July 1.

After the budget takes effect

City Council may propose adjustments to the budget (even once it has taken affect). Adjustments must be voted by City Council and are subject to the approval of the mayor. It is not clear if this takes place on a schedule or can be done at any point.

Budget process image (all these details are in text on this page)

So how can residents of LA affect the budget?

Overall, the budget process is not a very transparent or participatory process. That’s why the People’s Budget LA is demanding a more participatory, community-led approach to budgeting. There are a few levers for getting your voice heard in the budgeting process. We are sharing how you can get involved on our toolkit and on BLMLA’s channels.

Help us make sure the mayor and City Council work for their constituents by staying in touch with the People’s Budget LA coalition.

Key Players

The Mayor
The Mayor sets the budget priorities. He leads the budget process and puts together the city’s proposed budget. He also has veto power on matters of the budget.

Councilmember Krekorian
Councilmember Krekorian is Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee. Let him know the People’s Budget LA demands and let him know where you want to see funding go.

City Council Budget and Finance Committee
When the mayor’s budget is presented, it goes to City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee for hearings with city departments and recommendations before going to the full City Council for a vote.

Current members: Paul Krekorian (Chair), Bob Blumenfield, Kevin de León, Monica Rodriguez and Curren Price

Your City Councilmember
City Council often acts as a unit and your biggest voice is with your Councilmember. They can convince their colleagues, including those on the Budget and Finance Committee, on what kinds of adjustments to propose.

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