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National City Plans Cuts To Services

Your browser does not support this object. View the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JB7jXtAIUVo

Video published August 13, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: We'll discuss proposed budget cuts in National City that may affect library hours and other public services.

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.

MEANWHILE, CIVIC LEADERS, NATIONAL CITY, VOTED THIS WEEK, TO WHITTLE AWAY AT THE CITY'S $3 MILLION DEFICIT BY REDUCING HOURS AT LIBRARIES AND COMMUNITY CENTERS, JUST FOUR YEARS AGO. NATIONAL CITY VOTERS APPROVED A 1% INCREASE IN THE CITY'S SALES TAX. IT'S NOW AT 9.75%. THE HIGHEST IN THE COUNTY. THE FUNDS WENT INTO THE CITY'S GENERAL FUND TO BOOST CITY SERVICES. IN 2008, THERE WAS A MOVE TO REPEAL THIS 1-CENT TAX, WHICH WAS THE FEE BY THE VOTERS. THE TAX IS STILL THERE. AND SO ARE THE PROPOSED CUTS. WHAT IS THE ADDITIONAL TAX USED FOR?

WELL, A LOT OF IT HAS GONE TO PAY FOR SALARIES AND BENEFITS OF CITY WORKERS. THAT'S THE BIGGEST PART OF THE BUDGET OF ANY MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT IN CALIFORNIA. THE REALITY IS THAT RAISING THE TAX, AS THE VOTERS DID. NOW THEY'VE DONE IT TWICE, HAS NOT SPARED THEM FROM HAVING CUTS IN SERVICES, WHICH ARE NOW LOOMING. SO I THINK NATIONAL CITY OFFERS A CAUTIONARY TALE FOR THE VOTERS OF SAN DIEGO, AS THEY CONSIDER WHETHER TO RAISE THEIR SALES TAX BY HALF CENT. AS MAYOR JERRY SANDERS AND THE CITY COUNCIL HAS ASKED THEM TO DO.

BASICALLY, IT WILL RAISE THE COST OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES, THEIR PENSIONS AND HEALTHCARE, THAT TOSSES THE CITIES INTO THE RED?

IT'S BECAUSE, AS SAID BEFORE, THAT COST IS USUALLY ABOUT 80% OF THE BUDGET. BUT I THINK WHEN WE LOOK AT THIS QUESTION THAT YOU JUST PROPOSED THAT BOB RESPONDED TO, THAT THE PEOPLE COULD LOOK AT NATIONAL CITY AS A REASON TO SUPPORT THE SALES TAX. NATIONAL CITY, HAS THAT $6 MILLION RESERVE. AND SAYS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IN A MORE DIRE SITUATION IF NOT FOR THE SALES TAX INCREASE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THE PERSONNEL PROBLEMS. IF WE'RE STILL PROBABLY GOING TO PERHAPS SAVE SOME TIME. IN TERMS OF CUTS AND SERVICES.

BUT OUR NATIONAL CITY DID NOT DO WHAT SAN DIEGO IS ABOUT TO DO, ESTABLISH REFORM MEASURES TO CONTROL GOVERNMENT SPENDING BEFORE IMPOSING A HIGHER CITY TAX. DO YOU EXPECT THAT YOU GET MORE SUCCESS ONCE YOU SAY, OKAY, THESE ARE REFORMS, AND NOW WE'RE GOING TO ASK FOR MORE REVENUE?

THE REFORMS ARE LONG TERM. BECAUSE YOU HAVE SENIOR EMPLOYEES, MANY OF WHOM ARE GOING TO RETIRE, WITH PENSIONS AND CONTRACTS IN PLACE. EVEN IF THEY SET THIS UP. THEY WOULD STILL HAVE SOME OF THE I SAME DEBT TODAY. BECAUSE IT TAKES A WHILE FOR THE CYCLE TO CHANGE. IT APPLIES TO NEW EMPLOYEES. AND ATTRITION WILL TAKE PLACE OVER TIME.

BUT THE REAL PROBLEM WITH SAN DIEGO AND THE SALES TAX PROPOSAL IS THAT THE SUPPOSED REFORMS AMOUNT TO VERY LITTLE. THEY WILL NOT SAVE THE CITY MUCH MONEY. FOR EXAMPLE, ONE OF THE SO- CALLED REFORMS IS TO REQUIRE THE CITY TO DEVELOP RULES FOR OUTSOURCING GOVERNMENT SERVICES. IT DOESN'T REQUIRE THAT ANY SERVICES BE OUTSOURCED. THE ONLY REFORM IS THAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO WHAT THE VOTERS TOLD THEM TO DO IN 2006, WHEN THE VOTERS APPROVED THE OUTSOURCING MEASURE. THE PROMISES CONTAINED IN THAT FOR THE MOST PART IN MY VIEW ARE VERY HOLLOW. SO YOU CAN'T, IN MY VIEW, SAY THAT IF YOU PASS THE SALES TAX, YOU'RE GOING TO GET REAL REFORM. BECAUSE WHAT THE CITY COUNCIL HAS PROMISED DOES NOT ADD UP TO REAL REFORM.

BRIEF REPLY.

WE KNOW YOU CAN'T GET REAL REFORM WITH JUST THE PASSAGE OF TAXES. BUT IT REPRESENTS A MAJOR START IN A TIME OF CRISIS.

OKAY. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Comments

Avatar for user 'wendy'

wendy | August 13, 2010 at 7:32 p.m. ― 4 years, 4 months ago

it wasn't a 1% increase

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