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Sacramento, stay away from L.A.

August 08, 2008

Re "The right way to borrow," editorial, July 30

When California saw tough economic times in the mid-1990s, our state leaders found a convenient way to close their budget gap: They took money from local governments. Funding that cities used to provide police, fire, street repair and other services was shifted to help solve state budget woes year after year.

Your editorial noted that if they do it again this year, at least they will have to pay it back with interest.

That's true. But in the meantime, this borrowing would mean a loss of up to $124 million to the city of Los Angeles. That is the equivalent of hiring more than 1,000 new police officers or firefighters or paying for an after-school program for a year for more than 90,000 kids.

In addition, state leaders are considering lending themselves $38 million set aside for local transit improvements through voter-approved Proposition 42.

We are confident that our state leaders can find responsible ways to make their budget balance and protect core services without having to come after funding that voters have said they want to stay in their neighborhoods.

Eric Garcetti

President

Los Angeles City Council

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