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Santa Monica Weighs Steep Cuts to Cover Shortfall From Coronavirus Crisis

Santa Monica Beach, without the usual crowds. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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Hundreds of Santa Monica city employees could be laid off if the city council approves massive budget cuts Tuesday. The council is meeting to approve a restructured budget and cuts of over $86 million to cover a huge shortfall from the coronavirus crisis.

On the chopping block are more than 300 permanent employee positions. Cuts would also extend to things like affordable housing, library services and the fire department, and there would be pay cuts for city leaders.

Santa Monica is highly dependent on tourism -- a third of its general fund comes from tourism-related dollars that include hotel occupancy taxes and sales taxes from retail stores and restaurants.

Along with the cuts, the plan includes dipping into city reserves to cover a shortfall of $48 million for the rest of this fiscal year, and over $100 million for the next year. The city, along with many local governments, is appealing to Congress and the White House for federal aid.

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