SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made his first official visit to the Capitol on Thursday to make his case for getting state aid to help revitalize California's most populous city.
His visit comes as lawmakers are negotiating the state budget for the coming fiscal year and revisions to an $11 billion water bond that is scheduled to go before voters in November.
Los Angeles, with 3.9 million residents, has a population equivalent to the state of Oregon. The city's 2020 Commission warned in an April report that Los Angeles risks becoming a city in decline as it grapples with widespread poverty, a struggling tourism industry, the loss of manufacturing jobs and traffic jams.
Garcetti, who was elected in May 2013, painted a more upbeat picture when he addressed the state Senate, saying Los Angeles' unemployment rate had dropped in the last year. He told reporters that he needs state support for earthquake retrofits, water projects and a bill to expand the film-tax credit to keep the production from fleeing the state.
AB1839, which extends California's film tax-credit program for five years and lifts budget caps on feature films, is before the Senate after unanimously passing the Assembly.
"It's the most efficient jobs bill that I know of in Sacramento," Garcetti said, noting competition with New York.
His city suffered a blow when the "The Tonight Show" relocated to New York City in February, a move made possible by a 30 percent tax credit.
Lawmakers also are expected to negotiate a revised water bond this summer, laying out funding for storage, conservation and habitat-restoration projects. A top priority for Los Angeles is obtaining money for water-recycling programs as it tries to cut its water imports in half during the next decade.
"We've evolved in how we are treating water," Garcetti said. "We are coming up with a 'One Water' strategy that ties our waste water, storm water and water supply together, and I don't think there's enough in the older bond."
Garcetti is expected to have a strong ally in incoming Senate leader Kevin de Leon, a fellow Los Angeles Democrat who introduced him as a "dynamic, exciting" young mayor.
De Leon has said he will push for state matching funds for a $1 billion federal project to restore an 11-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River, part of a longer-range effort to transform the massive concrete conduit with wetlands, public access points and bicycle trails.
The total cost is expected to be split between the state and the federal government.
But de Leon will face pressure from lawmakers who have been trying to strip the water bond of the many local-project earmarks that were inserted to reach the required two-thirds vote threshold in the Legislature when the deal was first negotiated in 2009.
Associated Press writer Judy Lin contributed to this report.
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