L.A. 2020 Commission to provide budget guidance

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(AP Photo)

(AP Photo)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Mickey Kantor will announce a 12-member independent commission tomorrow charged with developing budget-balancing ideas for the city of Los Angeles.

City Council President Herb Wesson last week called on Kantor to create the panel, which is being called the “Los Angeles 2020 Commission.” The members will serve on a volunteer basis, with the committee operating on private and foundation support.

The city is facing an estimated $165 million budget deficit in the coming fiscal year following the defeat of Proposition A, a measure on the March 5 ballot that would have increased the city sales tax by a half-cent. The city is discussing various solutions to close the budget gap in anticipation of the mayor’s budget proposal, which will be released in April.

City officials had originally estimated the coming year’s budget gap at about $216 million, but the number was revised downward thanks to what the mayor called an improving economy. But City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana warned that the budget hole is still “a daunting challenge.”

The “2020 Commission” will hold both private and public meetings to hash out solutions to the budget deficit. According to Wesson’s office, the commission will examine how the city can grow its economy and attract jobs and business investment.

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