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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California
Southern California


The Council considered a plan today that would force 1000 layoffs.

Heated budget talks continued today at City Hall and the projected deficit shot up $10 million since Monday's budget meeting. A top budget analyst presented the City Council with several options to deflate the deficit today, including laying off as many as 1,500 city employees and cutting entire departments.

Hundreds of people attended the meeting this afternoon to protest the layoffs, including city service workers afraid of losing their jobs.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana offered the following suggestions, and their projected savings:

- Canceling cadet recruitment for the Police Academy for the rest of the year. ($9.9 Million)

- Canceling three firefighter recruit classes. ($8.1 million)

- Slashing Mayor Villaraigosa’s budget by 5 percent. ($1.26 million) This would come from cutting the Office of Gang Reduction and Youth Development and from slicing staff salaries.

- Cutting the City Council’s salary budget by 5 percent. ($8.1 million)

Popular programs like Environmental, Cultural Affairs and Disability Departments may also be cut from the budget to reduce the deficit.

Santana told the City Council that revenues had not dropped so quickly since the Great Depression and the City Controller's office warned that the deficit could grow to 660 million next year.

In addition to cuts, Santana proposed borrowing about $200 million from the city’s $230 million reserve fund.  Borrowing from the fund would weaken L.A.’s credit rating and limit the city’s ability to cope with a major disaster, such as an earthquake.

Although one of today's proposals suggested laying off up to 616 new police officers, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has said he opposes any layoffs in public safety departments. 

Council members said they are hoping to transfer employees out of departments that may be cut from the budget to avoid laying off city workers.

City Council President Eric Garcetti insisted that any layoffs would be a last resort to prevent fiscal insolvency. 

Other proposals to solve the deficit crisis included reducing payroll costs and pension obligations by renegotiating with labor unions, collecting hundreds of millions in taxes owed to the city and privatizing the city's parking meters.

On Monday, different city groups including neighborhood councils defended their funding in the face of proposed cuts and demonstrated at City Hall. 

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