Crime & Justice

LA facing $47 million deficit over next 3 months; CAO suggests freezing police hiring

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The Los Angeles City Council this week returns to the subject its likes least: L.A.’s burgeoning budget deficit.

Cities across Southern California are grappling with budget deficits borne of plummeting tax revenues and rising health care and pension costs. L.A. needs to close a $47 million gap in the next three months.

Among the recommendations of the City Administrative Officer: stop hiring police. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s rejected that idea, saying that other city workers will need to sacrifice.

“Our labor partners are going to have to share in the responsibility of making the kinds of concessions that will avoid even larger cuts in services,” said Villaraigosa.

The mayor notes that freezing police hiring would solve a small piece of the budget deficit. But it’s perhaps the most controversial option.

Others include spending less on parks and capital projects. Those may be easy decisions compared to the fiscal year that starts July 1, when L.A. faces a projected $350 million budget deficit.