Labor group identifies $100M in savings for LA, hopes to avoid layoffs

The Coalition of L.A. City Unions released a report identifying more than $100 million in savings, which the labor group says could avoid proposed layoffs.
The Coalition of L.A. City Unions released a report identifying more than $100 million in savings, which the labor group says could avoid proposed layoffs. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Labor organizers say they have identified more than $100 million in savings for the city of Los Angeles, which they hope city leaders will implement in an effort to avoid layoffs.

The Coalition of L.A. City Unions, which represents more than 21,000 city employees, released its findings as the Budget and Finance Committee is holding daily hearings on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2012-13.

The proposed budget includes the elimination of 669 positions – 231 of which are filled with employees.

“Bearing in mind the coalition’s ability in the past to partner with the city in order to achieve mutual goals, we present council with viable alternatives to layoffs. These alternatives will generate greater savings than those that could be achieved through layoffs and reductions in services for residents,” according to the report.

Savings could be achieved by borrowing money to pay for capital projects, increasing the estimated revenue from sales tax, and revaluating the reserve fund, according to the labor group. An estimated $60 million could be realized by releasing funds earmarked for city vendors.

“Simply put, the mayor’s proposed budget overstates how much money the city needs to pay preceding year obligations for services, supplies and equipment that carry over into the current year,” according to the report.

A February 2011 report from the city administrative officer identified $58 million in such funds.

The mayor’s budget team is reviewing the report.

A spokeswoman for Controller Wendy Greuel told KPCC, “We are reviewing the proposal and look forward to working with the budget committee, unions and everybody at the table to find budget solutions that help keep Angelenos working and avoid layoffs.”

The Budget and Finance Committee will reconvene its hearing on the budget today at 1 p.m. in Council Chamber of City Hall.

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