It's Official: City Budget, 1,200 Layoffs Approved

A resolution marking the Los Angeles City Council's official passage of the 2009-10 budget, which includes 1,200 layoffs, was unanimously approved Wednesday with little discussion.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has five business days to sign or veto the $7 billion spending plan.  

As budget deliberations began, the city faced a $529 million deficit. To close that gap, the budget calls for 1,200 layoffs and 26 furlough days for civilian employees -- equal to a 10 percent pay cut -- and stops the Los Angeles Police Department's efforts to increase the size of the force.  

"We need to downsize our workforce. We're either going to be able to do it in a less painful way through concessions or perhaps a severance plan. There's either that way ... or it's going to be a little more painful and harder for our employees. At the end of the day, we have to downsize," said interim Chief Administrative Officer Ray Ciranna.

Another $150 million to $160 million must be addressed through negotiations with unions representing city employees. If city and union officials fail to reach an agreement, additional layoffs and furloughs are expected to be ordered.

"This is a very dark period that we're going through," said City Councilman Tom LaBonge. "Right now, there's less food in cupboard to feed all the (city) family necessary to serve all the people."

With last week's failure of Propositions 1A through 1E, which were touted as essential to stopping California's ever-growing deficit, the state is expected to borrow between $68 million and $120 million from the city of Los Angeles.

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