skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

Council Approves Reform Before Revenue Ballot Measure

Your browser does not support this object. View the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Dq9Aswbyng

Video published August 6, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: What are the main arguments for and against the City of San Diego's "reform before revenue" ballot measure? We speak to KPBS Metro Reporter Katie Orr about the impact the measure could have on San Diego's long-term financial outlook.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

WITH 6-2 VOTE WEDNESDAY, SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCIL APPROVED ITS REFORM BEFORE REVENUE MEASURE FOR THE NOVEMBER BALLOT. THIS VOTE FOLLOWED A WHIRLWIND OF ACTIVITY AT CITY HALL IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS. HERE TO EXPLAIN THE CORE ELEMENTS OF THAT BALLOT MEASURE, OUR REPORTER KATIE ORR. WHAT ARE THESE KEY ELEMENTS OF REFORM BEFORE REVENUE?

THE MEASURE THAT VOTERS WILL SEE IN NOVICE A PROPOSED HALF CENT SALES TAX INCREASE THAT WOULD LAST FIVE YEARS, BUT THE TAX COULDN'T BE IMPLEMENTED UNTIL THE CITY COMPLETES A LIST OF TEN FISCAL REFORMS MEANT TO GET IT ON MORE SOLID FOOTING FINANCIALLY. AND THE CITY AUDITOR IS THE ONE WHO WILL DECIDE WHEN THE REFORMS HAVE BEEN MET.

THAT'S THE WHOLE IDEA. FIRST, YOU REFORM.

RIGHT.

PROVE THE REFORMS, THEN KICK IN THE TAX?

YES. ALL RIGHT. WHAT PROMPTED THEM TO PUT IT BEFORE THE VOTERS IN NOVEMBER?

THE CITY'S FINANCIAL SITUATION. FACING $72 MILLION BUDGET DEFICIT NEXT YEAR. IT'S ALREADY MADE SOME CUTS. AND THEY JUST SAY THEY HAVE NO MONEY, THEY HAVE NO REVENUE. THEY NEED TO DO SOMETHING. THEY NEED TO MAKE LONG TERM CHANGES, BUT SUPPORTERS ALSO SAY THEY NEED A QUICK INFUSION OF CASH TO HELP THE CITY SORT OF GET OVER THE HURDLE.

AND THE CASH WOULD BE SUPPLIED BY THE HALF CENT SALES TAX.

YES. IT WOULD GENERATE MORE THAN A HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS FOR THE CITY.

WE HAD 6-2 VOTE. THERE WAS SUPPORTERS, THEN THERE WAS OPPOSITION. YOU WERE AT THE COUNCIL MEETINGS. WHO WERE SOME OF THE GROUPS THAT SPOKE AGAINST THE IDEA?

A LOT OF BUSINESS INTERESTS THAT CAME OUT AND SPOKE AGAINST THE SALES TAX. THEY SAID LISTEN, WE ARE IN A RECESSION. WE DON'T NEED ANOTHER HURDLE FOR PEOPLE COMING IN AND SPENDING MONEY. AND OF COURSE, THERE'S CONCERN IF THERE'S HIGHER SALES TAX IN SAN DIEGO, PEOPLE WILL GO TO A NEIGHBORING CITY WITHOUT THAT HIGH SALES TAX AND SPEND THEIR MONEY THERE.

COUNCILMAN CARL DEMAYO WAS ONE OF TWO VOTES ON THE CITY COUNCIL AGAINST THE BALLOT MEASURE. HE SAYS THAT STRONGER REFORMS ARE NEEDED, AND THAT THIS PROPOSAL WILL CREATE MORE OF THE SAME PROBLEMS THAT SAN DIEGO HAS BEEN FACING OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS.

THIS BALLOT MEASURE DOES NOT GIVE SAN DEAIG ANDS THE CITY GOVERNMENT THEY DESERVE. THIS BALLOT MEASURE CONTINUES THE FAILED POLICIES OF THE PAST, SAYING ONE THING, DOING ANOTHER. WATERING DOWN REFORMS. AND MOSTLY THE PATTERN FOR THE PAST 8 YEARS UNMISTAKABLY HAS BEEN TO OFFER TAXPAYERS LESS IN TERMS OF SERVICES. BUT ASK THEM TO PAY MORE IN TERMS OF TAXES AND FEES. THIS ISN'T A DEPARTURE FROM THE BAD BEHAVIOR OF THE PAST. THIS BALLOT MEASURE IS A CONTINUATION OF THE BAD FINANCIAL PRACTICES.

OKAY, BUT COUNCIL MEMBER TONY YOUNG THAT VOTED IN FAVOR OF THE MEASURE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THIS BALLOT MEASURE WILL NOT FIX ALL OF THE CITY'S FINANCIAL PROBLEMS, BUT HE THINKS IT IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.

THIS BALLOT MEASURE WILL NOT SOLVE THE CITY'S ISSUES COMPLETELY. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. THE MAYOR AND I AND THE COUNCIL TALKED ABOUT A STRUCTURAL DEFICIT THAT WE HAD PLANNED TO ELIMINATE BY 2012. AND THAT STRUCTURAL DEFICIT THAT WILL BE ON-GOING THE NEXT FIVE YEARS IS $70 MILLION OR MORE, ON-GOING, EVERY YEAR, FOR THE NEXT FIVE YEARS. THIS WILL ADDRESS THE STRUCTURAL DEFICIT, IF IT DOES PASS, AND I THINK THAT IT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE PUBLIC TO REALIZE THAT THERE ARE OTHER REVENUE GENERATING OPTIONS THAT WE HAVE, AND ALSO EFFICIENCY OPTIONS THAT WE SHOULD PURSUE AND REFORM MEASURES WE SHOULD PURSUE TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE COMPREHENSIVELY IN ADDITION TO THE BALLOT MEASURE.

TONY YOUNG DOESN'T SOUND TO ME CONVINCED THAT THE REFORM BEFORE REVENUE IS THE WHOLE ANSWER. WHAT MORE MIGHT BE DONE?

WELL, HE WAS REALLY INTERESTED IN GETTING NUMBERS TO GO ALONG WITH THIS REFORM. HE WANTS LIKE THE IBA'S OFFICE TO COME OUT AND SAY IF YOU APPROVE THIS BALLOT MEASURE, SAY WE START TO IMPLEMENT MANAGED COMPETITION, THE CITY WILL SAVE THIS MUCH MONEY. HE WANTS NUMBERS TO BRING TO VOTERS SO THEY ARE MORE CONVINCED IT MIGHT BE A GOOD THING TO DO.

THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE FEEL THE SAME WAY. IBA IS THE INDEPENDENT BUDGET ANALYSIS.

RIGHT.

WHAT ABOUT COUNCILMAN DEMAYO, WHAT DOES HE WANT TO DO TO FIX THE BUDGET SINCE HE DOESN'T LIKE THE IDEA AT ALL?

HE AND KEVIN FAULK THEY ARE CAME OUT WITH THEIR OWN LIST OF REFORMS. CARL POINTS OUT THAT THE CITY'S PENSION PAYMENT, ACCORDING TO ITS PENSION SYSTEM, IS JUST ANTICIPATED TO KEEP GROWING. FISCAL YEAR 2012, IT IS ESTIMATED TO BE ABOUT $255 MILLION, AND HE SAYS THAT IF WE PASS THIS TAX INCREASE, IT IS ALL GOING TO GET SUCKED INTO PAYING FOR PENSIONS.

THAT'S GOING TO BE AN INTERESTING PART OF THE DEBATE AS THE CAMPAIGN TAKES OVER. WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR THE MAYOR AND COUNCIL IF LET'S SAY THE VOTERS DON'T APPROVE THE WHOLE IDEA OF CITY TAX INCREASE?

WELL, THE CITY COULD PURSUE THESE REAR FORMS ON THEIR OWN WITHOUT THE TAX INCREASE. BUT THE MAYOR WAS POINTING OUT HAVING THESE REFORMS AND HAVING THE TAX INCREASE PARTNERED TOGETHER CREATES THE SORT OF COALITION BETWEEN LABOR UNIONS THAT WANT THE TAX INCREASE BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO HAVE ANY MORE CUTS TO DEAL WITH, AND BUSINESSES THAT WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE CITY REFORM THE WAY IT DOES THINGS FINANCIALLY. SO HE'S WORRIED WITHOUT THE REVENUE, THE COALITION WOULD CRUMBLE AND WE WOULD BE WHERE WE WERE BEFORE, WHICH WOULD NOT BE A GOOD SITUATION.

NOW, THE MAYOR AND OTHER SUPPORTERS OF THE MEASURE SAY IT WILL HELP RESTORE CUTS MADE TO FIRE AND POLICE SERVICES. WHY CAN'T THIS TAX BE SPECIFICALLY DEDICATED JUST TO PUBLIC SAFETY?

IF THEY HAD WANTED TO DEDICATE THE TAX SPECIFICALLY TO ONE CAUSE, THE PUBLIC SAFETY, THAT REQUIRES A 2/3rds MAJORITY OF VOTERS, AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT THEY SAY JUST IS NOT POSSIBLE. SO THEY WENT FOR THE SIMPLE MAJORITY, WHICH MEANS MONEY GOES INTO THE GENERAL FUND. SO SOME OF IT, YES, CAN GO TO RESTORE SERVICES, BUT THEY CANNOT EARMARK THE MONEY FOR THOSE SERVICES SPECIFICALLY.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH. >> THANK YOU.

Please stay on topic and be as concise as possible. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Community Discussion Rules. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus