Expect little bright news today from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as he gives his State of the City address and releases his 2010-11 budget proposal, which would eliminate more than 3,500 positions from the city payroll.
The mayor's speech – in which he reflects on the past year and outlines his goals for the next – is expected to focus on the ongoing budget crisis and ways to close a projected $484 million deficit.
In a letter to the City Council, Villaraigosa said he expects to make significant savings by shrinking the city work force by 3,546 positions, including the layoffs of 750 employees. The layoff list includes 104 jobs from the City Attorney's Office, a proposal that has been made before and that City Attorney Carmen Trutanich has protested as excessive.
Villaraigosa also would leave vacant the jobs of 2,400 workers who accepted early-retirement and nearly 400 others that were held by employees who have resigned or transferred to other city agencies.
"Please note this list of position eliminations only portrays a portion of the budget solutions I have relied upon to present a balanced budget for fiscal year 2010-2011," Villaraigosa wrote to the council. "My office stands ready to discuss these proposed position eliminations as part of the City Council's budget deliberation process."
The mayor also is expected to renew his call for city workers to agree to wage concessions as a way to minimize layoffs.
Villaraigosa – who has cut his salary by 16 percent – said a 10 percent pay cut by the city's work force would save $300 million.
Councilman Bernard Parks, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee that will review the spending plan, said the job losses were expected.
"It's the only way we're going to cover our structural deficit," Parks said.
Parks, a former police chief, said he is curious how much of the $7 billion budget will be allocated to public safety.
"We are already at 70 percent," Parks said. "I want to see if it is going up to 75 percent and what that does to our programs."