Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pushed the City Council to declare a fiscal emergency this week after a breakdown in negotiations with unions over concessions that would help close a $530 million budget deficit projected for next year.
“The gravity of the fiscal emergency that we face is enormous,” Villaraigosa said. “Unless we act with urgency, the city will face a cash-flow crisis, raising the prospect of running out of cash between November and February.”
Villaraigosa in late April proposed a balanced budget for 2009-2010, but he left the reduction in labor costs in the budget to be negotiated with public employee unions. With talks faltering, the mayor of the second-biggest U.S. city is seeking the authority to impose mandatory work furloughs and to lay off 1,000 workers.
Villaraigosa said that the city’s budget deficit could exceed $1 billion in fiscal year 2010-2011 if it doesn’t get its cost down now.