LA County officials say they will close budget gap without layoffs, furloughs

Total L.A. County costs
Total L.A. County costs L.A. County

Despite a $220.9 million budget deficit heading into the coming fiscal year, Los Angeles County officials said today they will be able to close the gap without resorting to layoffs or requiring workers to take unpaid furlough days.

County Chief Executive Officer Williams Fujioka said his proposed $23.3 billion budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year includes $35.7 million in spending cuts, use of one-time funding and the elimination of 257 vacant positions to help eliminate the shortfall.

The county will not have to tap into its "rainy day fund" or economic reserves to balance the budget, he said.

"The county of Los Angeles remains better positioned than most other state and local governments to manage these extraordinary events," Fujioka said, referring to the lingering impacts of the recession and increased demand for county services.

"Continuing to maintain service levels, avoid significant layoffs and produced a balanced budget will only be possible to the extent recent economic indicators showing signs of improvement are sustained," he said.

Fujioka noted that sales and property tax revenues are expected to increase by 0.7 percent in 2011-12, marking the first year-over-year increase since 2006-07.

The county's budget situation could dramatically change, however, depending on budget talks in Sacramento. The county could lose $366.4 million through funding cuts being proposed at the state level. Since those cuts are still the subject of heated debate at the state Legislature, they were not factored into the budget proposal.

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