California budget watchdog boosts Los Angeles Olympic bid

Thu Nov 10, 2016 3:45pm EST
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By Rory Carroll

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's budget watchdog on Thursday gave its blessing to Los Angeles' bid to host the 2024 Olympic games, saying its a "low-cost, low-risk" approach will not require building major new venues and will not subject the state to excessive financial risk.

The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) report said a new law allowing the governor to enter into a contract with the city to provide no more than $250 million in state funds to pay for any financial deficits was a sound one.

The state would only be on the hook after other revenue sources have been exhausted, including insurance policies and up to $250 million from the city of Los Angeles.

"Los Angeles' bid relies almost exclusively on existing venues and infrastructure," said Jason Sisney, the LAO's chief deputy legislative analyst.

"This is important to keeping the financial risk for the city and the state low and will help Los Angeles avoid some of the major cost overruns that have plagued some prior Olympic hosts," he said.

The short-term economic gains from the games would likely generate additional state and local tax revenues that would offset some or all public costs, the LAO report said.

"Compared to many past Olympic bids, the current proposal by the LA 2024 organizing groups is a relatively low risk one," the LAO report said.

California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles, who authored the bill, praised the report and said the legislature would play a strong oversight role throughout the process.   Continued...

The city of Los Angeles, California is pictured on a hot summer day next to the San Gabriel mountains August 5, 2015.   REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo