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LA mayor calls for furloughs for thousands of city workers

April 20, 2020 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thousands of Los Angeles city workers must take 26 furlough days — the equivalent of a 10 percent pay cut — over the course of the next fiscal year as the nation’s second-largest city deals with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said made the announcement Sunday in his emotional State of the City address as he warned of an economic blow far worse than the 2008 recession, when city leaders laid off hundreds of workers and eliminated thousands of jobs.

“Our city is under attack. Our daily life is unrecognizable,” Garcetti said.

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“We are bowed, and we are worn down. We are grieving our dead,” the mayor continued as he fought back tears. “But we are not broken, nor will we ever be.”

The news provided a glimpse of what cities across California can expect as the state copes with the loss of 100,000 jobs last month because the coronavirus outbreak shuttered nonessential businesses. The figure barely begins to account for damage done to the world’s fifth-largest economy.

Tax revenues will come in far short of projections because of a major decline in hotel reservations and airport passenger traffic, Garcetti said. The city has already tapped $70 million from its special funds and reserve fund to cover the costs of responding to the pandemic, he said.

Garcetti said preliminary figures show nearly 300,000 Angelenos are unemployed, adding that number will rise. Furlough days will not be demanded of police officers, firefighters or workers at the Department of Water and Power, among other workers.

More than 1,175 people have died from the virus in California, according to Johns Hopkins University. Los Angeles County has 600 — more than half the statewide deaths.