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Storm Clouds For City Hall as L.A. Budget Heads For $400 Million Hole: Villaraigosa Asks For Retirement Concessions

Storm clouds for L.A. City Hall.

Peter BaerStorm clouds for L.A. City Hall.

Here we go again.

Bleak day for L.A. City Hall's wallet. City controller Wendy Greuel issued a forecast with few surprises -- Los Angeles will take in less than it spends next year and faces a more than $400 million deficit. (More than 50 mil this year, 350 next).

Mayor Villaraigosa this afternoon then told the Board of Fire and Police Pension Commissioners that he wants to nix a proposed $4.8 million increase in city-paid medical benefits for retired cops and firefighters.

Greuel implores the City Council not to take the slow economic recovery for granted. Tax receipts for the fiscal year will be down $24 million, the city will have to borrow $450 million to keep cash flow happy next year, and $628 million in debt payments will come due at the same time.

Whew.

Mayor V., meanwhile, is begging for a meager $5 mil from police and fire retirees, saying:

No one appreciates the work of our employees - and particularly the work of our sworn officers and firefighters - more than I do. But we need to face reality. The City is facing a $350 million deficit next year and increasing benefits for retirees at the same time that we are laying off and furloughing current employees is simply irresponsible.

In fact the mayor wants a freeze on retiree health subsidy increases come July. And he wants to increase the city retirement age to 65.

The all-powerful unions from which he came would probably have a problem with is plans, though.

Good luck with that.