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Villaraigosa leads rally opposing GOP-proposed cuts to social service and housing programs

March 23, 2011 |  4:24 pm

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa led a rain-drenched downtown rally Wednesday opposing Republican-proposed federal budget cuts that he says would slash jobs, social services and other needs.

Addressing several hundred activists, Villaraigosa blamed a “small group of extremists” for pushing cuts that, according to the mayor’s office, would cost fiscally strapped Los Angeles more than $500 million for job training, housing, social services and other programs.

“Say no to those cuts and yes to a brighter future,” the mayor told assembled supporters from the labor, environmental and other sectors.

Lawmakers in Washington are currently at odds on the federal budget. GOP leaders call the proposed cuts essential to scaling back the nation’s ballooning deficit. Many Democrats say the proposals would put the brakes on an already sluggish economic recovery.

Denouncing proposed reductions in arts funding was actor Tim Robbins.

“Arts education funding is not superfluous,” Robbins told the cheering crowd. “It’s essential.”

-- Patrick J. McDonnell at Los Angeles City Hall