California Taxpayers Will Cover Up To $270 Million In Costs If 2028 Olympics Go Over Budget

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Photo by Jason via LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

Governor Jerry Brown signed a measure late Sunday that puts California taxpayers on the hook for up to $270 million in costs if the LA 2028 Olympics goes over budget. The measure, known as Assembly Bill 132, had support from Mayor Eric Garcetti and the LA 2028 bid committee.

LA 2028 expects to cover the Olympics' $5.3 billion price tag with "corporate sponsorships, ticket sales and other revenue sources," according to the L.A. Times. Los Angeles also has its own reserve of $270 million already in place, so the state funds will only be tapped if the Olympics blows through the city's funds first.

Governor Brown signed a similar measure last year when the Olympics were expected to come in 2024. The previous state-funded financial cushion was for $250 million.

LA 2028 organizers say the 2028 bid is equally financially viable as the 2024 bid, citing the Games' ability to use pre-existing structures rather than constructing new facilities. Critics were uncertain whether the 2028 games would be economically sound, however, because a new budget hadn't been drawn and approved when L.A. voted to approve the 2028 bid.

Los Angeles often takes pride in the profitability of the 1984 Summer Olympics and used the Games' surplus as a reason to justify the LA 2024 and 2028 bids. Olympic organizers believe the next iteration of the Games will be similarly profitable. If this prediction is correct, there would be no need to use any of the taxpayer-funded $270 million guarantee.

Most of the 1984 surplus went directly into the LA84 Foundation, which funds programs for elite, amateur, and youth athletes around the city. Mayor Eric Garcetti asked for a similar investment in youth sports in exchange for agreeing to sponsor an Olympics in 2028 instead of 2024. Critics of the games point out that a financial investment in sports is misguided when the city has increasing economic disparity, as demonstrated by the homelessness and housing crisis.