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L.A. is Owed More than a Half Billion, Why Aren't We Collecting?

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Photo by okarol via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
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Los Angeles has been dealing with a severe budget crisis this past year, forcing elected officials to make draconian cuts to the workforce and services. To name a few of the effects, libraries are now closed two days a week, employees across the board must take furloughs and the LAPD has had to make adjustments to how it deploys officers. Part of the budget gap -- okay, a major part -- is what the city is owed in non-tax receivables, things such as unpaid parking tickets, ambulance billings and housing penalties. When all totaled up, L.A. is missing out on $541.1 million. That's a number that could fix the current budget deficit and more (and keep in mind, this number does not include unpaid taxes, intergovernmental dollars and unbilled services).

Today a city commission dedicated to revenue efficiency released the eye-opening “Blueprint for Reform of City Collections.” One key finding is -- and we quote -- "collections in Los Angeles is a mess."

Why?

"A staggering 76.6% of the City’s $541.1 million in non-tax receivables are more than 120 days past due," stated the report, "with 42.5% more than 2 years past due - and now mostly uncollectible." Of those accounts eligible for collection agency referral, only 48.5% are actually referred.