L.A. Mayor VillaraigosaLOS ANGELES, Calif. /California Newswire/ — L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced today that he will return without signature a City Council election ordinance to place a half-cent sales tax increase on the March 5, 2013 ballot:

“I will not ask the people of Los Angeles to support higher taxes until the City Council makes progress on a set of new reforms that will make us more efficient, accountable and competitive. We must tie new revenue to new reforms.

“Since the recession began, the City of Los Angeles has reduced the General Fund workforce by 5,000 positions, increased employee contributions to pensions and retiree health care, and enacted a pension reform plan that raises the retirement age for new employees from 55 to 65. We have made progress in putting our fiscal house in order, but there is still more work to be done.

“I have proposed a series of measures that will reduce the size of our workforce, embrace new public-private partnerships, and streamline city services. Council President Wesson has indicated a desire to move forward on this reform agenda.

“Now is the time to make the tough choices to reduce our long-term structural deficit. I will be directing the CAO to prepare a budget by January based on present realities, not the hope of new revenue. We will continue to make the hard calls to protect public safety while balancing our budget.”