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L.A.'s $6.7 Billion Budget Approved, Awaits Villaraigosa's Signature
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More reductions in library hours, increased parking fines, taxing billboards, job cuts and more were the outcome of yesterday's 10-hour Los Angeles City Council meeting. In all, the city's $6.7 billion budget was approved, thus sending it to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for his blessing.
One of the major moves made is the elimination of 761 positions with the possibility of 1,000 more if revenues don't come in by October 1st, mainly from the leasing of public parking garages. Some employees could face up to 26 furlough days.
Villaraigosa, who said trimming the city workforce was needed, stepped into the debate yesterday by releasing a statement asking the council to delay a budget vote while working with labor to reduce layoffs. The Council pushed ahead, citing last year, according to the LA Times. "We saw last year that when we all delayed, we paid the price," said Council President Eric Garcetti.
The Mayor will continue trying to save jobs. "He is going to work as hard as he can between now and July with our partners in labor to try to achieve those concessions to reduce the number of layoffs," Deputy Mayor Matt Szabo said. "That is still his goal, and he's completely committed to that."
The Police Departent, however, was spared from any cuts. The Council agreed to keep the sworn force at 9.963 officers. But still on the table are labor cuts. "Rough projections show that if all city workers, including police and fire, take a 5 percent cut, the city could save $123 million," explained the Daily News. "If only civilian workers take a 5 percent reduction, it would mean $63 million in savings.
The council did approve one revenue generating measure that will ultimately be placed in the hands of residents at the ballot box. An idea of Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Herb Wesson, taxing billboards could raise $50 million for the city.
Villaraigosa has three options when approaching the budget: approve it, veto it or cut things out and approve the remainder -- he's not allowed to insert items. It must be signed by June 30th, one day before the new fiscal year begins.
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