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LA Budget Chief Claims City Can’t Afford To Pay Raises

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(credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The top budget official for Los Angeles says the city cannot afford to pay raises due to roughly 20,000 employees.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana sent a letter to members of the Coalition of L.A. City Unions Tuesday calling for the reopening of contract talks, citing a $220 million budget shortfall that looms in the fiscal year starting July 1. The letter was obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

He said that raises for coalition members would cost the city $105 million over the next two years.

“Funding of these salary increases in fiscal year 2012-13 alone may require laying off 200 to 250 full-time general fund employees, particularly since furloughs are not an option,” said Santana. According to The Times, he said he was acting on instructions from the city’s negotiating committee, which comprises Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and four council members.

David Sanders, regional director for the cities division of Service Employees International Union Local 721, told the Times that there is no way the union coalition would agree to re-open talks.

The coalition represents such employees as sanitation workers, custodians, librarians and park maintenance employees. Its members are scheduled to see salaries increase by 3.7 percent starting July 1.

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