The City of Los Angeles is facing a financial crisis, including a $350 million deficit, that doesn't look to abate any time soon. Budget hawks attribute much of the problem to the rising cost of public pensions as workers live longer and retire later.
Rising pension costs and the recession have meant taxpayers are on the hook for a rapidly increasing part of those pensions. The L.A. City Administrative Office reported to the city recently that its contribution to police and fire retiree health benefits had gone up almost 270 percent since 2005 — from $31 million to about $114 million this budget cycle.
Below you can see how much of the city's general fund budget goes to pensions. Click below to see what chunk of departmental budgets come from pensions. Right click (Ctrl + click for Mac users) to zoom back out.
Also, as we've reported, a significant chunk of police and fire pension costs come from the city's Deferred Option Retirement Plan (DROP). While the merits of the plan are debatable, there can be no debate that cost has ballooned since the program's inception.
As a portion of the Department of Pensions' total budget on police and fire retirements, DROP has gone from about 2 percent of expenditures in 2004 to as high as 19 percent — $198 million — in 2008. It dropped closer to 10 percent during the current budget year.
See how DROP has grown as a part of the Los Angeles Fire and Police Pensions Department's budget by clicking on the different years. Roll over the different sections to see smaller parts of the budget, and how much they cost.
Click to zoom in. Right click (Ctrl + click for Mac users) to zoom out.
* Data from 2004-2005 is collected from the mayor's proposed budget for that year. Other years contain data from the city's adopted budgets.