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Council reviews mayor's $7B budget plan

April 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles City Council on Monday began scrutinizing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's $7.04 billion budget proposal.Members of the council's Budget and Finance Committee are getting their first look at the budget. The meetings are expected to continue through May 12.

The city is facing a $530 million budget shortfall. As many as 2,800 city employees could lose their jobs.

Villaraigosa hopes to close the deficit by renegotiating employee contracts, privatizing municipal facilities and increasing some city fees.

"The need for shared responsibility and shared sacrifice isn't just rhetoric, it's reality," Villaraigosa said last week when he unveiled the budget.

The Mayor has proposed different ways to close the budget. One of those proposals calls for city employees to work one unpaid hour a week. Another idea is to get employees to contribute 2 percent of their retirement accounts and forgo scheduled pay raises.

Workers who belong to the Coalition of L.A. City Unions could receive a 3 percent pay raise in July and a 2.75 percent raise next January.

The budget also calls for privatizing city parking lots and increasing the storm-water pollution abatement fee.

Los Angeles is facing declining revenues. Property taxes are expected to drop by $100 million next year, business taxes by $26 million, and sales taxes by $16 million.

A final budget must be approved by the city by June 12.

City News Service contributed to this report.