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San Diego’s Fiscal Health

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A San Diego economist says the city has several fiscal challenges but should be able to make it through the recession. A city councilman is calling for a better accounting of San Diego’s expenses.

— A San Diego economist says the city has several fiscal challenges but should be able to make it through the recession. A city councilman is calling for a better accounting of San Diego’s expenses.

The city is looking at liabilities of $2 billion for pensions and $1 billion for retiree health care. There are other expenses, including debt for capital projects like Petco Park as well as the cost of paying city workers. In addition, the city had to fill a budget hole of more than $80 million this fiscal year. But Marney Cox, Chief Economist for the San Diego Association of Governments, says the city isn’t bankrupt.

“We’re not always going to be in a recession. The current status of the pension fund is not always going to be where it is. And the stock market has already sort of started to come back,” he says.

But Cox says the squeeze on declining sales and property tax revenues is a concern. He says San Diego falls in the middle of California cities in terms of the financial pressure it’s facing.

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