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Primer to Today's Budget Council Meeting, How it Affects You & Why You Should Care

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A packed council chambers during Monday's budget hearing | Photo by Alex Thompson/Westside Bikeside
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There's nothing sexy about a city government's budget, no matter how you color it. The city of Los Angeles is facing so much red ink--currently $208 million--it's going to start bleeding out onto the streets and into your daily life. And that's exactly why you should know what's going on. If pot holes annoy you, get ready for more of them. If slow police response times anger you, you might be waiting even longer in the near future. City services demand money and well, that money isn't there.

Los Angeles faced a $400 million budget shortfall at the beginning of this fiscal year--July 2009 to June 2010--and did a number of things to patch it up like furloughs and letting 2,400 employees retire early. It worked, getting the deficit down to $100 million, but with the economy in the tanker, tax revenues were down and the city is back to $208 million in the hole. By the next fiscal year in July 2010 hits, we're looking at a $400 million shortfall. It's an uphill battle, but it's law that the City Council and Mayor make sure Los Angeles is solvent.