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Solutions For SD Budget Deficit

Your browser does not support this object. View the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNDX-6W24Lc

Video published July 16, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: Last January Mayor Jerry Sanders gave himself 18 months to come up with a solution for the city’s structural deficit. He has 11 months to go, we discuss what progress has been made and whether he'll be able to fulfill his pledge.

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.

ON OTHER ISSUE, SAN DIEGO LEADERS HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FIXING THE CITY'S DEFICIT FOR A LONG TIME. AND MAYOR SANDERS STATED THE CITY'S SPEECH IN JANUARY, HE SET A DEADLINE TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

WE MUST BE A CITY WITH A SINGLE AGENDA, TO LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS HONESTLY WITHOUT EXPECTING SOMEBODY ELSE TO PICK UP THE TAB. BEFORE THAT 18 MONTHS IS OVER, I WILL COME BACK TO YOU WITH THE PLAN TO RESOLVE THE CITY'S STRUCTURAL DEFICIT. THAT'S WHAT THE TAXPAYERS WANT ME TO DO, AND I'LL DO IT.

OKAY, SO IT HAS BEEN ABOUT SEVEN MONTHS SINCE HE MADE THAT PROMISE. HE HAS 11 MONTHS TO MAKE GOOD ON THAT PROMISE, ACCORDING TO HIS SPEECH WHEN HE GAVE IT HIMSELF IN JANUARY. DO YOU THINK HE WILL BE ABLE TO FULFIL HIS PLEDGE?

NOT AT THIS RATE , NO, I DON'T THINK IT'S POSSIBLE. THE ONLY HOPE TO BRIDGE THE GAP --LOOK, THE CITY, AND I SAY THIS --I'M A BROKEN RECORD ON THIS. BUT THE CITY IS NOT SET UP TO TAKE IN AS MUCH MONEY AS IT IS SET UP TO SPEND. THE GAP HE SAYS IS ABOUT 75 MILLION, A BUNCH OF OTHERS SAY IT'S HIGHER THAN THAT. AND AS THE PENSION LIABILITIES GROW, WE'RE LOOKING AT SEVERAL HUNDRED MILLIONS DOLLARS. THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN DO IS A COMPREHENSIVE REFORM, ONE THAT CUTS AND TWEAKS THE BENEFITS THAT PEOPLE HAVE, AND ON THE OTHER SIDE, CONSIDER REVENUE. THIS WAS --AS WE SAW THIS WEEK, THERE WERE EFFORTS TO COME ABOUT PERHAPS SOMETHING LIKE THIS, BUT EITHER THEY WEREN'T COMPREHENSIVE ENOUGH OR THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE DECISIONS WEREN'T ON BOORED.

YOU ARE SAYING THAT THE SALES TAX WOULD HAVE FIT INTO A STRUCK STUREAL DEFICIT APPROACH.

IN MY FANTASY IT WOULD. I DON'T KNOW TO WHAT EXTENT THEY WERE CONSIDERING THIS. SOME PEOPLE SAY THE ONLY THING THAT WAS ON THE TABLE WAS A SALES TAX, AND ON THE OTHER SIDE, A DEAL TO OUTSOURCE SOME CITY SERVICES. THE QUESTION COMES DOWN TO WOULD IT HAVE BEEN BROAD ENOUGH TO ATTRACT --THE REASON THE COMPREHENSIVE PACKAGE IS ATTRACTIVE BECAUSE IT HAS ELEMENTS THAT EVERYONE DOESN'T LIKE AND ELEMENTS THAT EVERYONE DOES LIKE. AND SO THINGS ARE MORE ATTRACTIVE WHEN THE OTHER SIDE HAS TO GIVE UP SOMETHING AS WELL.

WHERE DID THE ROADBLOCK ACTUALLY COME FROM? I MEAN, THE MAYOR'S OFFICE HAS THIS IDEA, AND THEN THE MAYOR BACKED OFF IT.

FIRST OF ALL, THE MAYOR'S OFFICE NEVER WAS PROUD OF IT AND NEVER TALKED ABOUT IT AND MADE THE CASE FOR IT. IT LET IT COME OUT AND WAS ABLE TO NOT DENY IT. I DON'T KNOW THAT THAT SHOWS A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN THE IDEA. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, THE MAYOR SAID THAT KEY PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO HAVE THIS GO FORWARD WERE NOT THERE FOR HIM TO MAKE IT GO FORWARD. SO WHO WERE THOSE KEY PEOPLE? PROBABL Y THE CITY COUNCIL, AND THE CITY COUNCIL IS INFLUENCED LARGELY BY LABOR GROUPS. WHY DIDN'T THE LABOR GROUPS PUSH THEM INTO MAKING THIS HAPPEN IS A QUESTION WE ALL NEED TO ASK.

YOU THINK IT CAME FROM LABOR AND NOT FROM BUSINESS?

LABOR CLAIMS THEY WERE AT THE TABLE, AND THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH DOING ALL THIS STUFF BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. ALL WE HEAR IS WHAT EVERYBODY SAYS. WHY DON'T WE HAVE THIS DISCUSSION OUTWARD, WHERE PEOPLE ARE MAKING THE CASE FOR THE REVENUE AND REFORM, AND EVERYBODY CAN HORSE TRADE IN PUBLIC. IF WE DON'T, THE BANKRUPTCY COURT IS GOING TO COME IN AND SAY YOU HAVE TO DO THIS.

SCOTT LEWIS, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU.

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