L.A. Praised for Low-Risk Olympics Bid

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The Daily News of Los Angeles


California's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office has affirmed that Los Angeles is taking a "low-cost, low-risk" approach in its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. This is an important finding, because minimizing and mitigating financial burdens to state and local taxpayers is critical to the credibility of the city's bid.

While the International Olympic Committee won't be announcing its choice of a host city until September 2017, Los Angeles has been putting in the work to determine the financial feasibility and fairness of its bid well ahead of time.

As many cities around the world have discovered, hosting the Olympic Games is prestigious but also fraught with financial risks.

This is fortunately not too much of a concern in Los Angeles, where the vast majority of planned venues for use already exist, including the Memorial Coliseum, Staples Center and the StubHub Center Soccer Stadium. Further, the city's bid doesn't call for massive infrastructure investments to prepare for the Games. This, along with the existence of venues, means the bid is free from many of the costs other cities might have to grapple with.

In October, the city administrative officer and chief legislative analyst sent a report to City Council members emphasizing risk management, transparency and oversight. Among the issues the city must prepare for is the possibility of cost overruns, reduced ticket sales and even natural disasters.

Still, the LAO report is fairly optimistic, while appropriately restrained. "Short-term economic gains from the Games likely would generate additional state and local tax revenues that would offset some or all public costs," the LAO suggests, adding that compared to many past Olympic bids, "the current proposal by the LA 2024 organizing group is a relatively low risk one."

In the event Los Angeles is chosen to host the Olympics, the LAO is advising the state to potentially develop an oversight committee of its own to complement the work of oversight efforts at the local level, as potentially hundreds of millions in state dollars are on the line.

This editorial board urges state and local leaders to keep up the work to assure taxpayers they aren't being put at significant risk.

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November 20, 2016


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