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Los Angeles County budget proposal released: No layoffs, furloughs or cuts

April 16, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
No layoffs, furloughs or service cuts: Los Angeles County's latest budget proposal appears to be a promising one, thanks in part to some much-needed growth.

The new L.A. County budget is the size of a phonebook and full of complicated numbers. But officials say there is good news in it.

"A balanced budget that will result in no layoffs, no furloughs, no service cuts, no major reduction in anything that we do," said William Fujioka, chief executive officer of Los Angeles County.

Not only are there no cuts, some departments will get increases. The Sheriff's Dept. will be able to add about 160 new workers. Fujioka says unions have agreed to give up raises for one more year.

"Our employees have stepped up with their union leadership. They have recognized we're going through a difficult time," said Fujioka.

In a statement the county workers union said: "We have been willing to make sacrifices. However, we are counting on the Board of Supervisors to do its part by covering any increased health care costs," wrote Linda Dent, SEIU Local 721.

One problem in the budget could be property taxes. The county assessor originally estimated that property values would increase more than $18 billion, but just last week that number was drastically reduced to $5 billion.

"They've never seen a swing like this," said Fujioka.

The assessor's office says there are still a number of foreclosures, and that could mean less property-tax money for the county. Fujioka believes the housing market is stabilizing and these numbers will change.

"Right now there's a lot of unknowns, a lot of uncertainty, but everyone needs to take a deep breath and wait till we get our auditor to give us that factual information," said Fujioka.

This is just the beginning of the budget process. There will now be public hearings and changes, all of which could take several months.


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