Following testimony by nearly 100 neighborhood council leaders, an L.A. City Council committee voted to restore most funding to the local panels. The Budget and Finance Committee on Wednesday approved a package that includes $45,000 a year for each council. The figure represents the 10-percent budget cut that all civilian departments and agencies are taking under Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s call for “shared sacrifice” amidst the worst deficit L.A. has faced.
The full City Council is expected to vote on the budget next week. Meanwhile, the mayor has declared a state of fiscal emergency, enabling the city to impose employee furloughs and layoffs without union consent. L.A.’s financial crisis promises to worsen as the state announces plans to withhold funds for cities to close a budget gap of at least $15.4 billion and the city looks ahead to a deficit as high as $1 billion in 2010-2011. The state deficit is forecast to reach as much as $21.3 billion if the revenue-generating ballot measures fail in the Tuesday election.
See the news-analysis piece below for more insights about the neighborhood council funding debate.