Mayor Villaraigosa Asks What Cuts You Would Make To Heal The City Budget

Do you have the guts to pull the trigger on 1,000 layoffs, putting good workers and their families in financial peril? Taking a page from the book of ain't-so-easy-if-you-try-it-yourself, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday unveiled a website where residents can weight in with their suggestions on how to get rid of more than $400 million in red ink the city is expected to see in July.

The Los Angeles Budget Challenge Survey site asks residents to come up with ideas for layoffs, service reductions and new streams of revenue. "We all have a role to play in balancing the budget,'' Villaraigosa said, making the survey sound almost like a dare: "I urge everyone to take this survey and share your ideas with us.''

The city is facing a $212 million deficit, with another $484 million hole coming July 1. The mayor has called for 1,000 layoffs, which would likely only halve the current deficit. But so far the city hasn't laid anyone off, and as the City Council puts off any hard decisions red ink piles up at nearly $350,000 a day.

Already, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck has said the budget crisis has forced him to pull officers from the street because the department can't afford to pay overtime.


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