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Tight Times for L.A. City Gov't

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To stave off the threat of civic bankruptcy, L.A. needs to cut nearly 4,000 city jobs over the course of 2010.

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The grim realities, as reported by the L.A. Times:

Faced with a shortfall now reaching $208 million, the top budget official at Los Angeles City Hall said Friday that he is preparing a list of 500 jobs to be cut from the payroll -- on top of the 1,000 already threatened with elimination.

Those reductions, if approved by the City Council over the next several weeks, would bring city government personnel cuts to 3,900 this year. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the council have already agreed to let 2,400 employees retire with full benefits up to five years early.

And we need to start right away, says City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana:

"There is a financial and human cost for each day of delay," he wrote to Villaraigosa and council members. "The daily cost of postponing 1,000 layoffs is approximately $338,000, which equals four more positions that need to be eliminated to generate the targeted savings."

What's at stake for L.A's future is huge, and the problems don't stop this year:

For weeks, several city officials have expressed fears -- both publicly and privately -- about the possibility of municipal bankruptcy. City Controller Wendy Greuel warned earlier this week that a decision to balance the budget by tapping too much of the city's emergency reserve fund could make it more expensive for Los Angeles to borrow money. That in turn would threaten the city's ability to pay its bills.

Furthermore, once this year's budget gap is addressed, Villaraigosa and the council must eliminate a projected $484-million shortfall for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

In other city economic commentary, Steve Lopez at the Times interviews the mayor about, among other things, his new outsider "jobs czar," Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner. Mark Haefele at L.A. Metblogs is skeptical about Beutner's ability to turn the city's job situation upright.

(Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

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