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February 8, 2013 | Maeve Reston
The top five candidates for Los Angeles mayor faced an unusually tough grilling Thursday led by Austin Beutner, the former deputy mayor who once stood as a leading contender in the race. While in past debates the candidates have offered a striking lack of specificity about how they would tackle the city's looming $1-billion budget deficit, Beutner -- a retired investment banker who served as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's first deputy until mid-2011 -- repeatedly pressed them for details at a lively San Fernando Valley forum.
April 27, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
Any struggling family knows that first you put food on the table, make sure there's a roof overhead and lay in some daily essentials. Only then can you realistically think about paying down the credit card. True, you shouldn't have run wild with the card in the first place. But that's past. Now, you create a repayment plan and muster some discipline. That's where Sacramento sits currently with its daunting credit card debt. The state's annual budget that covers daily expenses is finally balanced after years of recession-plagued deficits.
February 18, 2013 | Chris Megerian
When Gov. Jerry Brown needed help pushing his tax plan last year, public-worker unions rallied to his side with millions of dollars and thousands of campaign foot soldiers. Now Brown's administration will be negotiating with some of those unions on labor agreements worth billions. Contracts affecting almost half of all 350,000 state workers -- engineers, administrative staff, librarians, corrections officers and more -- are due to expire this summer. The talks may test the governor's ability to continue limiting spending as California edges free of its years-long budget crisis but continues to face heavy debt.
April 25, 2014 | By Emily Alpert Reyes
Los Angeles lawmakers gave the green light Friday to spend $10 million to repair broken sidewalks next to parks, libraries and other city facilities. Despite public demands for stepped-up sidewalk repairs, the action previously had been delayed because council members were concerned about how the spending might figure in negotiations to settle a related lawsuit. But with the 2013-14 budget year drawing to a close in two months, and chances increasing that the funds might not be spent as promised, the council decided to move forward.
June 28, 2012 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - State lawmakers finished their work on the budget, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it late Wednesday, ending the haggling over final details of California's spending plan. The budget closes the state's $15.7-billion deficit with cuts in social services and depends on voters approving more than $8 billion in temporary tax hikes at the ballot box in November. Without a higher sales tax and increased levies on the wealthy, the governor says, the state will cut billions from public schools.
February 13, 2012 | By Kathleen Hennessey
Republicans on the Hill are scoffing at President Obama's budget, saying it's riddled with gimmicks and “fiscal fairy dust” that hide tax increases and inflate the amount of deficit reduction. The White House says the plan announced Monday achieves more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, through a combination of tax increases, Medicare cuts and a winding down of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Republicans quickly dismissed the notion that money not spent on the wars should be counted as savings.
March 5, 2010
Big changes to the budget California lawmakers approved midyear budget changes to address roughly $4 billion of the state's estimated $20-billion deficit. Among them: $1.1 billion Divert gas taxes from mass transit to reduce deficit. $811 million Cut prison healthcare budget. $580 million Cut 5% of state payroll and related costs. $60 million Cut 3% of funds for centers for the developmentally disabled. $182 million Commute sentences of illegal immigrant inmates and turn them over to the federal government.
March 20, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - Think of it as what could have been: Alternative visions of the federal budget from progressives, conservatives and other rank-and-file lawmakers that have little chance of passing but offer another view of priorities. As House Republicans prepared Wednesday to pass their 10-year austerity budget plan from Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), the chamber first dispatched with alternative proposals. The Congressional Progressive Caucus offered a plan that would increase income taxes on millionaires to 45% - and billionaires to 49% - while paying for infrastructure programs and more money to the states to hire schoolteachers, cops and firefighters.
April 24, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to approve President Obama's nominee for top White House budget expert, bringing a woman into a top post in an administration that critics say has been dominated by men. Sylvia Mathews Burwell was confirmed as director of the Office of Management and Budget by a vote of 96-0, a quick, bipartisan vote of support by a Senate that has strongly objected to several key White House nominations, including...
April 3, 2013 | By Seema Mehta
Eric Garcetti dismissed a new proposal by Los Angeles mayoral rival Wendy Greuel to cut office budgets for City Council members and the mayor by 25%, saying such a reduction was inconsequential given the size of Los Angeles' deficit problem. “That's a drop in the bucket,” Garcetti told reporters after a campaign event at a community center in Echo Park. “What we have to be doing is not only leading by example, as we've done, but we need to look at pension reform, healthcare reform, those things that really give us bang for the buck, and most importantly, growing the economy.
April 24, 2014 | By Gary Goldstein
Compared to "Speed" or "Unstoppable" or other pricey studio thrillers about runaway public vehicles, the lower-budgeted "Last Passenger" may feel a tad modest for the high-octane crowd. However, taken on its own terms, this handsomely made suspense yarn proves an engrossing, pulse-quickening journey that deserves a wider local release than it's receiving. Set on a "slam-door" train (versus newer vehicles fitted with purportedly safer automatic doors), this compact picture finds half a dozen late-night riders stranded on a London commuter train whose brakes have been sabotaged.
April 18, 2014 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO - Soon after Jerry Brown was elected governor in 2010, he invited the state's top budget official, Ana Matosantos, to lunch at his office. He had just two months to prepare his first plan for tackling California's $26-billion deficit. He asked his assistant to fetch the budget director a sandwich. Then, Matosantos said, the incoming governor of one of the world's largest economies ate a single hard-boiled egg, sprinkled with salt. Brown's dietary discipline was a hint of the regimented approach he would take to California's staggering financial problems, which he had promised to fix by pushing the state back into the black.
April 14, 2014 | By Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - Lower-than-expected health insurance premiums under Obamacare will help cut the long-term cost of the program 7% over the next decade, according to the latest report from the Congressional Budget Office. The government's reduction of $104 billion in subsidies for those premiums was the main factor that led the nonpartisan fiscal watchdog to cut its projection of the nation's federal deficit by nearly $300 billion through 2024. According to the CBO report, released Monday, the average annual premium for the new healthcare exchanges' mid-level Silver plan - used as a benchmark - is expected to be $4,400 by 2016.
April 14, 2014 | By Abby Sewell and Soumya Karlamangla
Los Angeles County officials proposed a budget Monday that would pump money into reforming major problem areas, including the jails and foster care system, while expanding county medical staffs to manage the transition to federal healthcare reform. As part of a $26-billion spending plan that builds on post-recession economic improvements, Chief Executive William T Fujioka called for adding more than 1,300 positions to county government, including nurses, social workers and staff for the newly created Sheriff's Department inspector general.
April 14, 2014 | By David Zahniser, Emily Alpert Reyes and Ben Welsh, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday unveiled a hold-the-line budget for the coming fiscal year, proposing modest increases in a handful of city services and zero reduction in the business tax -- an issue that the mayor repeatedly has promised to tackle. Garcetti's $8.1 billion financial proposal, which requires approval from the City Council, closes a $242 million gap in part by relying on increased tax revenue projections and reductions in vacant positions. The financial plan assumes the city's workforce, including police officers and firefighters, will not receive raises in the coming year.
April 14, 2014 | By Ben Welsh, David Zahniser, Emily Alpert Reyes
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's first proposed budget calls for hiring 140 firefighters and the start of a sweeping overhaul of the city's 911 dispatch system, part of a bid to speed the response to hundreds of thousands of calls for help each year. The revamped dispatch operation, outlined Monday by the mayor's office as it presented an $8.1-billion spending plan for the coming fiscal year, would unify separate police and fire emergency call centers and gradually replace some uniformed firefighters with lower-paid civilian phone operators.
June 13, 2013 | By Los Angeles Times Staff
When a deal was reached on the state budget, Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate leader Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez gathered in the Capitol to declare victory. Missing from the press conference, says George Skelton in his Thursday column , was a fourth group that made a balanced budget possible. "Let's not forget where most of the credit belongs for a punctual, sensible budget," he writes. "It's with another, oft-maligned group: the California voters. " Two votes played a crucial role in this year's largely smooth budget process.
May 29, 2013 | By Chris Megerian
SACRAMENTO -- For much of the year, the debate surrounding the budget has pitted Gov. Jerry Brown against Democrats in the Legislature. But starting this week, there will be a different set of divisions in the Capitol. The Assembly and the Senate are pushing different budget plans that will need to be reconciled in a series of joint hearings scheduled to begin Friday.  Although the differences involve a relatively small part of the budget, they represented divergent views on how California should begin reinvesting in government programs now that deficits have faded.
April 12, 2014 | Chris Erskine
Called a family meeting the other day. Like conversation, a family meeting is another antiquated concept. These days, you're more likely to go on a sleigh ride or visit the Vatican than attend a family meeting. I plow ahead anyway. Our family is now one of those weird sports teams, split between players too young and too old. Our youngest is 11; our oldest, 30. In a sense, we're having our own grandchildren. So, when I call a family meeting, some of them show up in their PJs; some of them show up with hangovers.
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