Hamai briefs BOS on county budget, which projects $1.2B shortfall by June

Los Angeles County Seal.
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Los Angeles County CEO Sachi Hamai gave a brief breakdown of the county’s budget to the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday before substantial revisions are submitted in June. 

Due to the economic fallout brought forth by the coronavirus pandemic, the county is projecting an overall shortfall of up to $1.2 billion as of June 30, Hamai said during a budget meeting with the supervisors Wednesday morning. 

In April, Hamai said the estimated deficit rounds to about $2.5 billion in sales tax revenue through 2021 and spending of about $600 million in COVID-19-related expenses. 

“The coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented global health crisis and spurred a severe economic downturn. The fallout will result in broad and deep reductions in several of the county’s key revenue sources, along with large increases in social and health-related expenditures,” read a budget report by Hamai to the Board of Supervisors. 

The county has already garnished more than $20 million in federal funds for its COVID-19 efforts, but more is needed, according to Hamai. 

“Without assistance from the state and/or the federal government to offset the loss of revenue, the county will likely be forced to make painful cuts to criminal justice, public safety, social services, mental health, and other services,” read the report. 

The county plans to close its $1.3 billion deficit projection using a variety of approaches, including the need for departments to absorb expenses if funding permits, use of countywide reserves and departmental trust funds and reserves to be used to offset expenses as appropriate. 

Hamai is expected to return before the Board of Supervisors with “substantial revisions” to the recommended 2020-21 county budget by June, which will reflect lowered revenue assumptions and significant cost curtailments. 

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