Coronavirus: Mayor of Los Angeles Garcetti calls for cuts and holidays

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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced plans on Sunday for thousands of workers to leave the city as part of a larger effort to ensure the city survives the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

With tax revenues falling short of expectations, Garcetti said he would seek 26 days of unpaid leave from the city’s civilian workforce to balance the budget. The move would cut wages by 10 percent, he said.

The coming financial downturn will be worse than the 2008 recession, when city leaders laid off hundreds of workers and cut thousands of jobs, Garcetti said in his annual state of the city speech.

“So far, it has been the biggest economic blow of our lives, and it hurt,” he said. “But there is no way to coat it. It’s bigger, it will hurt more. “

The sharpness with which the public would feel the cuts to come is far from clear. The days off will not be required, among others, by the police, firefighters or workers in the Department of Water and Electricity.

Garcetti has already closed a number of city facilities to the public, including cultural centers, the Los Angeles Zoo and dozens of branch libraries. Some city workers have been reassigned to work in recreation centers that function as makeshift shelters for the homeless.

Sunday’s speech comes at an extraordinary time for Garcetti and the city. In the past five weeks, he has issued emergency orders to shut down businesses, suspend evictions, demand face masks, waive parking tickets and generally keep Angelenos away from each other on beaches, hiking trails and other places.

With much of the city remaining inside, Sunday’s speech hardly resembled LA Gone’s previous city state address was the color keeper and the other ceremonies that usually accompanied the annual address from Garcetti to the city.

In normal years, Garcetti spoke to hundreds of people in crowded halls such as the California Science Center and the Valley Performing Arts Center at Cal State Northridge. Sunday he spoke inside an almost empty city hall, with even council members staying at home.

As a result, the event felt closer to one of the many evening briefings on coronaviruses given by Garcetti since mid-March, when he ordered the closure of bars, nightclubs, fitness centers, cinemas and other businesses.

The coronavirus epidemic and the accompanying economic downturn has been by far the greatest challenge for Garcetti and other city leaders for more than a decade.

Revenues for the upcoming fiscal year may be $ 598 million lower than forecast, depending on how long Angelenos continues to stay indoors, figures released last week by city controller Ron Galperin .

Much of the reductions were caused by the sharp drop in tourism activity, including a significant drop in taxes on hotel beds, said Galperin. Since home stay orders have been issued across the state, jobless claims have skyrocketed, with workers in the entertainment, hospitality and travel industries being particularly hard hit.

Garcetti is expected to release his proposed budget on Monday. The document, which covers expenses for the fiscal year beginning July 1, must be approved by city council before coming into force.



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