This week, Los Angeles County released its draft annual budget, totaling nearly $24.7 billion. Our biggest areas of spending remain public safety, healthcare and public assistance. I’m pleased to report that again this year, this budget does not include any cuts to County services or any employee layoffs.
While the County is required to balance its budget, for the first time since the start of the worst economic crisis since the great depression, we will operate on a budget that does not require the use of reserve funds to plug shortfalls.
We would not be in this position without our focus on fiscal prudency, as well as the partnerships we have with our labor unions, who have forgone cost of living increases to avoid furloughs and layoffs. I want to thank our department heads and hard-working County employees for working with us to make significant, across-the-board budget cuts over the last several years.
While other municipalities deal with layoffs and cuts to critical services, Los Angeles County has remained dedicated to providing important services our residents have come to expect. In some cities, they can’t even fill the potholes and pave the streets. At the County we continue to invest in our infrastructure, knowing that investments today will pay off tomorrow.
We are in no means out of the woods, but with the significant budget cuts we have made and some uptick in revenues, things appear more stable. However, I remain concerned about significant future financial obligations, such as the Affordable Care Act and Realignment. We must continue to work with our colleagues at the state and national level to ensure that Los Angeles County receives the funding necessary to continue providing mandated safety net services for our residents.
Our frugality has paid off through the rough economic times. As we see improvements, however we must remain as disciplined and continue to operate within our means.