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Villaraigosa Offers a More Austere Budget

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Mayor Villaraigosa offers an overall $300 million cut in L.A.'s budget for the next fiscal year, and looks at both new revenue and spending cuts to close our budget gap.

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The Daily News delivers more specifics on Villaraigosa's budget proposal:

Under the plan: The Los Angeles Police Department will be able to maintain a sworn force of 9,963 officers but continue cuts made in the civilian work force. Libraries will need to close an additional day each week.

The Los Angeles Fire Department will continue its rolling brownout program. Daytime child care at parks will be eliminated and summer recreation programs are being scaled back.

The mayor and council offices will see their budgets reduced by 7.4 percent. Golf green fees are expected to go up again to make the system self-sustaining.

The city will continue to fund 735 miles of street resurfacing and repair. However, the number of potholes being filled will decline from the current 300,000 to an undetermined amount, and repair response time will be increased beyond the promised 24 hours.

Villaraigosa's budget also has built into it more city worker furlough days--which city employee unions of course say they will fight. It also projects $154 million in new city revenues from property taxes, permits, fees and the Department of Water and Power, though Bernard Parks, chairman of the City Council's Budget and Finance Committee, says he doubts the validity of some of the mayor's office's revenue projection.

The L.A. Times sums up how things have changed in L.A. since Villaraigosa took over:

In 2005, property-tax revenues -- the primary sustenance of the city's $4.3-billon general fund budget -- flowed at the height of the housing boom and the region's unemployment rate hovered around 5%. Now, the number of people out of work has more than doubled and declining revenues and increasing pension costs could leave L.A. with a $1-billion budget shortfall within three years.

Ron Kaye, unsurprisingly, thinks the state of the city speech was "nothing but a work of fiction" using "smoke and mirrors to avoid reality."

The image associated with this post was taken by Flickr user Stewart James. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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