LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti delivered his annual State of the City Address Sunday night amid the coronavirus pandemic, warning of employee furloughs and budget cuts.
He praised Angelenos who are following guidelines to wear masks in public, practice social distancing and stay home as much as possible.
Garcetti noted the changes that have taken place since this virus began spreading in L.A. has upended lives, calling our daily lives “unrecognizable.”
“We asked you to sacrifice, to save lives, knowing it would be a blow to your stability and your income,” he said. “But knowing that not doing this would be far, far worse.”
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted businesses in the L.A. area that have had to close down or only operating with partial services.
The city has already tapped emergency and reserve funds but he says it will not be enough and there will need to be cuts.
In the new budget proposal for the new fiscal year starting in July, Garcetti said city employees will have to take 26 furlough days, which is about 10% of their pay.
The mayor is calling on the federal government to pass a bailout for city governments and to relax rules about how existing funds are spent.
“All of us remember the 2008 recession. Until now, it was the biggest economic blow of our lifetime and it hurt, but there’s no way to sugarcoat this: this is bigger and it will hurt more,” Garcetti said. “Our city revenues have plummeted, hotel reservations have collapsed. After 9/11, our airport closed for two-and-a-half days and passenger traffic fell by as much as one-third that month and it took us 10 years to claw our way back.”
Garcetti said in his address that the city of L.A. currently has a higher unemployment rate than it did at the peak of the recession.
He added that the city outpaced the state and nation in the recovery and he believes it could happen again.
There was no timeline given for when these closures in the city will ease up but the mayor says there is a coalition of people working on a plan to re-open the city when that time comes.