Business & Economy

'No layoffs, no furloughs' under new LA County budget proposal

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After several straight years of budget cuts, Los Angeles County leaders unveiled a budget proposal Monday for next year that actually spends more money than last year.

The budget plan totals more than $23 billion dollars and it calls for no dramatic cuts in public services, and no furloughs or layoffs.

County CEO William Fujioka says agencies have had to tighten their belts to get to this point.

"We have eliminated over the past five years 2,164 positions," Fujioka explained. "That is a structural change. They were funded positions. Departments on average have taken a 17 percent cut in their respective budgets."

In fact, the new plan adds people: nearly 160 new workers in the Sheriff’s Department (mostly deputies) and eight positions to serve the mental health needs of returning veterans.

The spending plan also sets aside $350 million for building or sprucing up jails, fire houses, juvenile halls and other facilities. Another $150 million is earmarked for recreational programs.

There’s still a current shortfall of over $75 million to deal with, but that’s a smaller deficit than in recent years. They plan to close it with help from money saved, and a drop in demand for some services — no need to draw funds out of the reserves.

"We have the $75 million budget gap that we’re able to address through a combination of some program changes, principally revenue increases and assisting case load reductions," said Fujioka.

Budget leaders will present the review to the L.A. County Supervisors on Tuesday.

The budget proposal does not take into account a recent report by the county assessor that property tax revenues might run $50 million shy of previous projections.

This story has been corrected. An early version said this was a $500 million increase over last year's budget, which it wasn't.