L.A. Eyeing Privatization, Asset Leases to Close $983 Million Budget Shortfall

According to the L.A. Times, the L.A. city budget shortfall is getting worse, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is exploring asset leases and privatization to help close the gap:

Los Angeles could face nearly a $1-billion shortfall by 2010 because of a mammoth bailout needed for the city’s employee pension funds, which have seen investments tank in the spiraling national recession, according to a city budget report released Friday.

The grim forecast of a $983-million budget gap came as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa already was considering widespread city layoffs and deep cuts to services because of the worsening financial crisis. The mayor is also exploring whether to privatize the Los Angeles Zoo and leasing city parking garages and meters, which could raise hundreds of millions of dollars. The total budget this year is $7 billion.

Like many cities and counties struggling with mounting deficits, L.A. appears to be moving down the path that Mayor Daley has blazed in Chicago by incorporating privatization as a key budget and fiscal management tool.

Reason’s Privatization Research and Commentary