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Mayor Villaraigosa's New Budget Could Help Close Deficit

The L.A. Mayor's eighth and final proposed budget looks to close the city's projected $216 million deficit.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa released his proposed budget for the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year to City Council on Monday. 

The $7.7 billion spending plan is Villaraigosa's eighth and final proposed budget as the mayor of Los Angeles, as his replacement will be elected in less than a month.

The proposed budget would close a previously estimated deficit of $216 million, and does not include any employee layoffs or furloughs.  It also sets aside cash reserves of $292 million. 

"This budget builds upon significant actions taken to maintain the City's financial health, reinvests in core municipal services, and benefits from an ongoing economic recovery," Mayor Villaraigosa said Monday. 

Some highlights of Villaraigosa's proposed budget include reopening the LAFD Drill Tower to begin recruiting and hiring 140 new firefighters, restoring seven-day service at the Central Library as well as eight other regional libraries, maintaining funding for 350,000 pothole repairs and proposing the elimination of 5.5% pay raises scheduled for January 1, 2014 for 60 percent of the City's civilian workforce.

Just three years ago, the City Administrative Officer projected a deficit for the upcoming fiscal year of more than $1 billion.  Over the last three years, the deficit was reduced, and Mayor Villaraigosa accredits this to departmental cuts, benefits savings, and General Fund revenue growth.

"The ability of our administration to present a responsibly balanced budget that includes surplus revenue investments," Villaraigosa said, "is the result of progress we have made together in cutting costs, creating a more efficient city government and realizing the benefit of increasing City revenues."

According to Mayor Villaraigosa, if his proposed budget is adopted, the City Administrative Officer projects that the City's General Fund deficit will continue to decline, and could see a structural surplus of $15 million by the end of his predecessor's first term in office. 

The mayor's proposed budget now awaits approval from the City Council. 

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