LA County budget proposal would shrink spending nearly 4%

Los Angeles County’s chief executive officer released his proposed budget Monday. It’s a $22.7 billion plan that shrinks county spending by 3.7 percent.

The proposal eliminates nearly 1,400 positions – most of them vacant. It also plans for about 100 layoffs.

That’s good news, L.A. County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka said, given plummeting property and sales tax revenues.

“I will not be talking about thousands of layoffs. I’m not talking about huge program reductions.”

There will be some cuts, he said.

Fujioka proposes reducing library hours and cutting overtime pay for Sheriff’s deputies to help address a $510 million shortfall for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The budget details $175 million in "ongoing operational spending reductions" and calls for using $167 million from the county's reserve funding to get through next year.

"Next year will be the most difficult year not only for the county but every municipality throughout the state of California," Fujioka said.

Fujioka said he also hopes to squeeze $115 million in concessions out of county labor unions.

"We’re at the table right now working with our labor partners – and I want to emphasize that we are partners – to identify how we would close that gap.”

Fujioka reported a small uptick in sales tax revenues recently, but wasn't sure if it was a spike or the start of a trend.

The budget is subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors.

The current crisis will require an "aggressive partnership between labor and management" Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said.

Antonovich also suggested reviewing all programs that are funded above state requirements to reduce spending.

“The impact of health care reform on the county budget is uncertain,” he added. “The County already spends over $400 million dollars for health services beyond state mandates,” said Antonovich.

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