LA mayor unveils budget, calls for cuts, privatization

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today said the city faces its worst budget crisis since the Great Depression. He made the comment as he unveiled his proposed $7 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1st. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today said the city faces its worst budget crisis since the Great Depression. He made the comment as he unveiled his proposed $7 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1st. KPCC’s Frank Stoltze reports.

Frank Stoltze: The mayor says that the city faces a $530 million deficit, and that he’ll be forced to lay off 2,800 city workers if labor unions refuse to forgo pay raises, take unpaid furloughs, and contribute more to pension funds.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa: Massive layoffs and draconian service cuts are not inevitable. But everyone including our police and firefighters must work together in the spirit of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice.

Stoltze: The mayor’s promised to take a 12 percent cut in his own $223,000 annual salary. Union leaders say they’d prefer early retirements to layoffs. Villaraigosa’s said that wouldn’t save enough money. In his proposed budget, he also eliminates 1,300 vacant city jobs and privatizes city parking structures.

Villaraigosa: We must also be willing to follow the same course for our zoo, our convention center, and our parking meters.

Stoltze: Unions – and some city council members – have said they don’t like the idea of privatization, and they’ve pledged to fight it.

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