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Proposal To Increase San Diego Sales Tax

Your browser does not support this object. View the original here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Uw8V1nfWhk

Video published July 30, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: It's battle of the ballot measures. We discuss whether San Diego politicians will ask voters to decide on taxing themselves for both city and school expenses.

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.

SAN DIEGO'S POLITICIANS WERE UNUSUALLY BUSY THIS WEEK LOBBYING ABOUT WHETHER THE TWO TAX MEASURES SHOULD GO ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT. THERE IS THE CITY SALES TAX INCREASE AND THE SCHOOL PARCEL TAX. AND THEN THE MAYOR VETOED ANOTHER BALLOT MEASURE TO BUILD A NEW CITY HALL. WITH BALLOT MEASURES VOTERS WOULD MAKE THE CHOICE WHETHER OR NOT TO DIG DEEPER IN THE POCKETS TO SUPPORT THE CITY AND SCHOOLS. WITH ME TO EXPLAIN THE WHEELING AND DEALING GOING ON IS SCOTT LOUIS. SCOTT, AS WE TAKE THE PROGRAM THE CITY COUNCIL IS MEETING TO DETERMINE WHETHER TO PUT THE SALES TAX INCREASE ON THE BALLOT. GIVE US A BRIEF SUMMARY OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THE COUNSEL HAS VOTED DOWN THE BALLOT MEASURE ON MONDAY.

I HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING SAN DIEGO CITY POLITICS FOR SEVERAL YEARS AND I HAVE NEVER SEEN A SUMMER LIKE THIS. THIS IS A SCRAMMABLE UNLIKE ANYTHING ELSE I HAVE SEEN. IT HAS TO DO WITH THE BALLOT DEADLINE. YOU NEED TO HAVE SOMETHING APPROVED BY AUGUST 6 TO GET IT ON THE BALLOT. THIS FRENZY TO DO THAT IS REALLY INDICATIVE OF THE DESPERATION AT CITY HALL. SINCE THEN DONA SORT OF BLOCKED THE SALES TAX INCREASE AND SAID IN ORDER FOR THIS TO HAVE A CHANCE YOU HAVE TO HAVE PEOPLE FROM ALL SIDES TO SUPPORT IT. YOU HAVE TO HAVE LABOR AND CITY COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES OF WORKERS AT CITY HALL SUPPORT IT AND YOU ARE GOING TO NEED A BUSINESS COMMUNITY SUPPORT OR THE MAYOR'S SUPPORT. SHE CAME UP WITH A PLAN THAT SAYS THIS SALES TAX WILL ONLY STAY IN EFFECT IF CERTAIN REFORMS ARE MADE TO EMPLOY COMPENSATION.

WHAT ARE THE KEY REFORMS?

ONE OF THEM WOULD OUT SOURCE THE LAND FILL AND MAKE EMEMPLOYEES PAY HALF OF THE PENSION COSTS THEY ARE BUILDING UP AS THEY GET CLOSER TO RETIREMENT. THESE TRIGGERS HAVE TO OCCUR IN ORDER FOR THE SALES TAX TO GO FORWARD. IT WAS RATHER BRILLIANTLY PLAYED FOR HER TO DO DISMISSU THIS AND NOW WE HEARD THE MAYOR SUPPORTS IT AND THIS COULD BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE COMPROMISES TO COME OUT.

WE TALKED TO DONNA FRY EARLIER ABOUT THE CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH GETTING VOTERS TO BACK THE BUDGET REFORM PACKAGE.

WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO PUT SOMETHING ON THE BALLOT THAT YOU THOUGHT DID NOT HAVE CHANCE OF SUCCEEDING? THAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. I THINK WITH THE REFORMS IT WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT TO GET VOTERS TO SUPPORT THIS. I HAVE NO ILLUSIONS ABOUT THIS AT ALL. AND I UNDERSTAND THEIR CONCERNS AND FRUSTRATIONS. AND I UNDERSTAND THE FACT THAT THEY FEEL DISTRUSTFUL. I GET ALL OF THAT. THE REALITY IS WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME. I PERSONALLY DO NOT WANT TO SEE ANYMORE CITY SERVICES CUT.

WHY IS THIS THE TIME TO ADDRESS CITY PROBLEMS THAT HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR A DECADE?

IT IS NOT. THE TIME WAS 5 YEARS AGO. THE POINT IS NOW THEY HAVE HIT WHAT THEY ARE CONSIDERING A MAJOR DEADLINE WITH THIS BALLOT PROPOSAL. IF RECOVERY FOR THE CITY INCLUDES SOME KIND OF BALLOT MEASURE THEN WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE CONCLUDING IS THIS IS LITERALLY THE LAST WEEK BEFORE SERIOUS CITY DECAY OCCURS TO GET SOMETHING ON THE BALLOT. THE MAYOR AND HIS STAFF HAVE SAID THAT 20 FIRE STATIONS CAN GET CUT, 700 POLICE OFFICERS. MAYBE HE IS LYING. IF HE IS BEING TRUTHFUL THEN A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE SCRAMBLING AND THAT IS INDICATIVE OF HOW DESPERATE THE SITUATION IS.

THERE ARE REPORTS THAT THE MAYOR ASKED THE SAN DIEGO UNIFIED SCHOOL BOARD PRESIDENT NOT TO PUT A SCHOOL PARCEL TAX ON THE BALLOT WITH THE CITY TAX. HOW DID HE RESPOND TO THAT?

HE BUCKLED AND SAID I WILL PULL THIS OFF AND HE LATER CONCLUDED THAT I DIDN'T THINK THIS WOULD PASS. THEN HE SAID SOMETHING BAZAAR THAT THE BEST HOPE FOR THE SAN DIEGO SCHOOL DISTRICT WAS FOR THE STATE TO BALANCE A GOOD BUDGETT. THAT IS LIKE A TORNADO COMING TO YOUR HOUSE. I WOULD RUN AWAY FROM THAT SITUATION.

THIS IS HOW SAN DIEGO SCHOOL BOARD RICHARD EXPLAINS HIS REASONING.

WHEN I KIND OF PUT OUT THERE THE NOTION THAT THIS MIGHT BE SOMETHING THAT MIGHT BE TOO HARD TO PASS I'M TELLING YOU I GOT 100 E-MAILS FROM PARENTS, PHONE CALLS. PEOPLE SAYING WE KNOW IT IS GOING TO BE HARD BUT IT IS A FIGHT WORTH FIGHTING FOR BECAUSE WE NEED GREAT SCHOOLS IN SAN DIEGO. SO COMMITMENTS FROM PARENTS TO JUMP IN, VOLUNTEER, RAISE MONEY, MAKE PHONE CALLS, KNOCK ON DOORS, PUT UP YARD SIGNS. I THINK WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A VERY SPIRITED CAMPAIGN AND WE ARE GOING TO WORK HARD TO GET THE MESSAGE OUT TO ALL OF SAN DIEGOENS THAT OUR SCHOOLS ARE IN A CRISIS.

SO AT FIRST HE SAID I WANT IT ON THE BALLOT AND THEN SAID HE DOESN'T WANT IT ON THE BALLOT AND NOW HE WANTS IT ON THE BALLOT AGAIN. BUT THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY IS ALREADY MOBILIZING TO PUT IT ON THE BALLOT.

2/3 IS BRUTAL. LET'S TAKE TWO BALLOT MEASURES THAT WORK. TRANSIT ISSUES GOT IT. LAST YEAR A PROPOSAL TO PUT SOMETHING ON THE BALLOTT TO SUPPORT FIRE PROTECTION DIDN'T COME CLOSE. THE REASON IS THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE EVERYBODY SUPPORTING IT BECAUSE 20% OF THE POPULATION WILL VOTE AGAINST IT NO MATTER WHAT. SO YOU ONLY HAVE A SMALL GROUP BELOW THAT THAT CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE FOR YOU. HE IS GOING TO HAVE TO SOMEHOW BRING CONSERVATIVES ON BOARD TO THIS PROPOSAL.

I GUESS THE OVERALL QUESTION IS: CAN THE LABOR COMMUNITY AND THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY COME TOGETHER ON BOTH OF THESE PROPOSALS SO THAT OUR SCHOOLS ARE WELL FUNDED AND SO THAT THE CITY IS WELL FUNDED?

THEY ARE GOING HAVE TO NOT GO ALL FOR NOTHING ON THEIR SIDE. THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO SAY LABOR HAS TO STOP PUSHING THROUGH UNILATERAL PROVISIONS. THE OTHER SIDE HAS TO SEE ITS FUTURE IN SCHOOLS AND SEE IF THEY CAN BRING LABOR ALONG IN SOME WAY. THE MORE THEY ARE POLARIZED THE MORE PROGRESS SUFFERS.

SCOTT LOUIS IT HAS BEEN A PLEASURE. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

FOR THE LATEST NEWS ON THE PROPOSED CITY SALES TAX INCREASE YOU CAN GO TO KPBS.ORG.

Comments

Avatar for user 'MGLAND'

MGLAND | July 31, 2010 at 8:53 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

No real reform but a purpose. On 7/27 Union tribune story pointed out...
7/27/10. If leaders do nothing, the city is expected to have budget deficits of $72 million, $68 million, $70 million and $48 million in coming years. Even if the economy recovers, the picture doesn’t get any rosier as the city’s annual pension payment — which is paid for out of the city’s $1.1 billion operating budget — is expected to balloon from $232 million this year to $318 million in 2015 to $512 million by 2025.
.....It was 160 million last year.
Bottom line.....City pension obligations are a death spiral with no bottom for taxpayer liabilities...our kids will be paying an increasing percentage of their taxes to just service this debt and receive very little in public services. They will exist to pay pensions.

The purpose of this Tax is to generate enough cash flow to service this death spiral.
It should get rejected until the City gets serious about the root problem and rejecting the measure will force them to get serious

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'oldschool'

oldschool | July 31, 2010 at 1:50 p.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

How about stopping the grotesque WASTE and mis-use before extorting more TAXES! New Library? New City Hall? More TAXES. SEE: Overpaid Public 'servants"(read:overpaid Union slugs). Any "provisions" put into the tax will soon be forgotten and dropped, like usual.

This group in City Council is an embarrassment to San Diego. Unable to add and subtract, clueless to their responsibility, and apparently stupid.

RAM your sales tax city council!

Stop the run away UNIONS and hand outs to illegals before you squeeze the taxpayers again under the RUSE of "we do't get enough taxes", the citizens pay plenty of taxes. The shi*ty council needs to learn responsibility and simple math! We are not as stupid as you think.
STOP SCREWING THE

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'socalnoni'

socalnoni | August 2, 2010 at 8:05 a.m. ― 3 years, 8 months ago

We do not need a new Library nor do we need a new City Hall. What this city does need is common sense. Sorely lacking in Government from the Federal to the Local.

Our advice to the Mayor and other members of this crumbling city is to take a class from NJ Governor Chris Christie. Follow HIS plan.

And take a stand for this state! A listener called in to a KPBS radio segment on jobs in San Diego. What he said was not only appalling but disgusting. Upon trying to apply at a chain pizza location in East country he was denied because HE couldn't speak SPANISH. If our City Council does not see anything wrong with this then they do not deserve to be in office living off those whose first language is ENGLISH.

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