Thursday, May 19, 2011

Los Angeles CIty Council Approves a Balanced Budget. Sort Of.

The LA Times reports that the Los Angeles City Council has approved a new budget for the coming fiscal year. The city is slated to spend almost $7 billion dollars.

Not clear.
A couple things here: LA's 2011-12 budget deficit has been variously reported as either $438 million or (in this article) $336 million. So, our first question is: which number is correct? One clue to the answer is that this budget isn't, well, totally balanced. It assumes that the LAPD will find a way to cut $41 million from its budget, which depends on whether it can gain sizable concessions from the police officers' union. So the proposal could still fall apart.

Otherwise, the budget closes the $336 million gap largely by cuts to programs for homelessness and graffiti removal, the Recreation and Parks Department, and the budgets of the City and neighborhood councils. Police overtime pay was eliminated, and about a fourth of trucks and ambulances in the Fire Department were cut as well. The budget now goes to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has five days to review it.


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