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More grim budget news for L.A.: Tax revenue falls short by $186 million

January 21, 2010 |  9:23 am

The bad financial news just keeps coming at Los Angeles City Hall, where the top budget analyst reported this morning that tax revenue has come in at $186 million below estimates for the current year.

The report from City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana comes one day after The Times reported that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Council leaders want to deal with the budget crisis by eliminating at least 1,000 jobs.

Sales tax revenue declined by 16% last summer, instead of the 6% drop expected by city budget officials, the report states. And overall tax revenue has declined by double digits for four quarters straight, Santana said in an e-mail to The Times.

“The city hasn’t seen this since the Great Depression,” he wrote.

With a new fiscal year – and another budget shortfall -- only five months away, the city’s elected leaders have been scrambling to come up with a new plan for closing this year’s gap. Villaraigosa and five council members circulated a letter calling on Santana to prepare for layoffs and come up with a plan to offer 364 workers retirement up to five years early.

The city has already agreed to give early retirement to 2,400 city employees, some of whom have already left. One labor leader has voiced opposition to more job cuts.

The letter also called on Santana to speed up plans for leasing city parking structures, giving him a deadline of Sept. 30. And it broached the subject of privatizing the Los Angeles Zoo and municipal airports in Van Nuys and Ontario, asking him to look at the concept.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

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