Los Angeles Business Journal

Villaraigosa Proposes Economic Development Department

By Howard Fine Originally published April 22, 2013 at 2:20 p.m., updated April 22, 2013 at 12:29 p.m.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday released his final budget as mayor. The $7.7 billion spending plan would close a previously estimated $216 million deficit and proposes creation of an economic development department.

Unlike in the previous four years, the 2013-14 budget includes no employee furloughs or layoffs; rather, it calls for adding 140 new firefighting positions.

Also, thanks to unexpected surges in property, sales, real estate and hotel bed taxes, the budget allocates roughly $111 million in one-time funds to various infrastructure improvements, such as filling potholes and repairing sidewalks.

“This budget builds upon significant actions taken to maintain the city’s financial health, reinvests in core municipal services and benefits from an ongoing economic recovery,” Villaraigosa said in a statement.

He also proposed creating an economic development department that would focus on small business support, workforce development and job creation. He also proposed combining the planning functions of the existing Building and Safety, Planning and other departments into a new Department of Planning and Development.

The Los Angeles City Council will conduct hearings on the budget over the next few weeks. The budget is expected to take effect on July 1, the same day a new mayor takes office.