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SD Business Community Split Over Prop. D

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Video published October 8, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: The fight over San Diego's Proposition D grows fiercer with powerful business interests on both sides. We'll discuss the impact of a half-cent sales tax on consumers and find out what San Diego's fire and police officials say would happen if Prop. D fails.

Gloria Penner (Host): City of San Diego officials and community leaders are in a growing tizzy over the fate of prop D -- the measure would raise the city sales taxes by half a cent. This week, the san diego regional chamber of commerce announced its support of Prop D. At the same time, a long list of major business groups announced their opposition. With me to talk about the pros and cons of Prop D for the business community are

Guests

John Warren, is editor and publisher of San Diego Voice & Viewpoint.

Bob Kittle, is director of news planning and content for KUSI.

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 OFFICIALS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS ARE IN A GROWING ADVERTISE Z OVER THE FATE OF PROP D THE MEASURE WOULD RAISE CITY SALES TAXES BY A HALF CENT. THIS WEEK SAN DIEGO REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCED SUPPORT OF PROP D AT THE SAME TIME, A LONG LIST OF MAJOR BUSINESS GROUPS ANNOUNCED THEIR OPPOSITION WITH ME TO TALK ABOUT THE PROS AND CONS OF PROP D FOR THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY ARE JOHN WARREN EDITOR AND PUBLISHER OF SAN DIEGO VOICE AND VIEWPOINT AND BOB KITTLE DIRECTOR OF CONTENT.

WHY ARE WE SEEING SUCH A DIVISION?

GENERALLY THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY DOESN'T WANT TO PAY HIGHER TAXES BECAUSE IT IS BAD FOR THE ECONOMY IT HURTS BUSINESSES. IN THIS CASE THE MAYOR, JERRY SANDERS PUT ON A FULL COURT PRESS TO PERSUADE THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE TO SUPPORT THE TAX AND IN THE END PREVAILED. IT IS AN UNUSUAL DECISION BUT THERE IS A LONG LIST OF BUSINESSES THAT OPPOSE THE TAX.

DO THEY HAVE GOOD REASON TO OPPOSE THE TAX?

Poll

Are you in favor of Prop. D, the proposed half-cent sales tax increase?

  • Yes

    43%
  • No

    56%

221 total votes. (This poll is now closed.)

YES, THOSE WHO OPPOSE THE TAX SAY IT WON'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE IT WON'T HELP IT WON'T SOLVE A PROBLEM. WHAT MAKES THIS WORKABLE FOR THE MAYOR AND THOSE MEMBERS OF COUNCIL WHO ENDORSED IT IS THE IDEA WITH THE HALF CENT SALES TAX COMES AT LEAST A THREE STEP PROGRAM TO REDUCE AMOUNT OF MONEY THE BUDGET CARRIES EACH YEAR, LIMIT HOW MUCH OF THE NEW MONEY CAN BE USED AND IDENTIFY POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL SAVINGS WITH MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL AND OTHERS MAKING REDUCTIONS IN BUDGETS THAT IS WHAT MADE IT MORE PALATABLE NOW IT IS IN CONJUNCTION WITH SOMETHING OTHER THAN A HALF CENT.

THIS SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD DEAL FOR THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY.

IT IS NOT TO HEAP NEW TAXES ON TO THE ECONOMY IS A TERRIBLE IDEA. MANY MEMBERS OF THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY WOULD SAY WHAT CITY COUNCIL NEEDS IS NOT A 3 STEP PROGRAM BUT 12 STEP PROGRAM TO GET THEM OFF OF THEIR ADDICTION TO BIG PENSIONS THAT ARE REALLY BRINGING THE CITIES BUDGET INTO CHAOS. FOR CRITICS OF THE TAX, THAT IS THE ESSENCE OF THE PROBLEM. THE GROWING PENSION DEBT THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED.

IT ISN'T WORRYING ABOUT HALF CENT SALES TAX.

NO, THEY WOULD SAY LOOK THIS IS GOING TO DRIVE CUSTOMERS AWAY MAKES THEM LESS LIKELY TO GO OUT FOR DINNER THEY GET THAT BILL AND SEE IT IS ALMOST 10% THIS WOULD RAISE THE SALES TAX FROM 8 AND 3/4ths TO 9 AND A QUARTER.

IT IS 50-CENTS ON A HUNDRED DOLLAR ITEM WILL PEOPLE REALLY FEEL THAT?

THAT IS A REALLY IMPORTANT QUESTION BECAUSE PEOPLE WHO SELL HIGHER TICKET ITEMS SUCH AS AUTOMOBILES THOSE TAXES WOULD BE GREATER AND THEY ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE MOST CONCERN. SOME ECONOMISTS HAVE SHOWN PLACES LIKE SANTA BARBARA OR SANTA MONICA WHERE THERE ARE HIGHER SALES TAXES PEOPLE ARE SPENDING. IF PEOPLE WANT THE ITEM TAXES ARE BASED ON WHERE THEY ARE A RESIDENT.

THIS WEEK CITY'S POLICE AND FIRE CHIEFS RELEASED PROPOSED CUTS FOR THEIR DEPARTMENT FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR. POLICE CHIEF IS CLEARLY DIRE IN HIS WARNINGS ABOUT WHAT BUDGET CULTS WOULD DO

--CUTS WOULD DO.

I AM THE CHIEF OF POLICE IN SAN DIEGO AND I AM THE EXPERT AND I AM HERE TO TELL YOU IF I HAVE TO CUT $15.9 MILLION OUT OF THIS BUDGET, IT IS GOING TO EFFECT PUBLIC SAFETY THIS IS ABOUT MONEY AND THIS IS ABOUT A BUDGET I HAVE SEEN THAT BUDGET AND LOOKED AT THAT BUDGET AND WORKED WITH THAT BUDGET AND EVERYBODY AT CITY HALL TO TRY TO FIND A SOLUTION AND I DON'T SEE IT.

WHAT ABOUT THE TIMING OF THIS? JOHN WARREN?

WELL, OBVIOUSLY THE CHIEFS POSITION IS TIME TO DRAW SYMPATHY WHEN YOU SHOW PEOPLE POLICE OFFICERS AND FIREFIGHTERS WE HAVE SITUATIONS WHERE THINGS ARE BURNING LONGER BECAUSE STATIONS ARE CLOSED, THAT PUSHES A PANIC BUTTON THAT IS WHAT HE IS DOING, PLAYING TO SYMPATHY TO GET THE SUPPORT BECAUSE THEY ARE GOING TO BENEFIT FROM THE HALF CENT SALES TAX.

IS THAT A GOOD THING?

DEPENDS WHO YOU TALK TO. FROM MY STAND POINT, YES, CITIZENS WILL PAY FROM BOBS STAND POINT AND OTHERS IT MIGHT NOT BE.

YEAH, NORMALLY CUTS LIKE THIS FOR NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET THIS IS THE BUDGET THAT WILL START ON JULY 1st, NEXT YEAR. WE WOULD BE LOOKING AT THESE CUTS BEING UNVAILED IN APRIL OF NEXT YEAR TO SUDDENLY UNVAIL THEM OCTOBER OF THE PREVIOUS YEAR IS CLEARLY POLITICALLY MOTIVATED TO INFLUENCE VOTERS ON PROP D.

SOUNDS LIKE IT IS ALL PART OF THE MAYORS PLAN OF INFLUENCE. HOW POWERFUL IS THIS MAYOR IN TERMS OF BEING ABLE TO CONVINCE PEOPLE AND GLAD HAND PEOPLE.

I STILL THINK THE MAYOR IS BEING GIVEN TOO MUCH CREDIT BUSINESS COMMUNITY PEOPLE LIKE VINCENT MUD THE TASK FORCE THEY HAD THEY BROUGHT FORTH THIS IDEA. THE MAYOR IS GETTING ON THE BAND WAGON ALONG WITH SUGGESTIONS THAT ARE GOING TO BRING OTHER ELEMENTS TO BALANCE THE BUDGET I DON'T GIVE THE MAYOR THE CREDIT BECAUSE THE MAYOR AND CHAMBER ARE NOT THE DRIVING FORCES THAT THEY ONCE MIGHT HAVE BEEN.

OKAY THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

JOHN WARREN, AND BOB KITTLE.

Comments

Avatar for user 'JEC'

JEC | October 25, 2010 at 10:09 a.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Why not Prop D? Because it's off target. The debate accepts the current layers of government and the resulting financial chaos - i.e. build a new central library while cutting libraries; passing legislation to build a new stadium while shutting fire stations. The cost of just the top four administrators at CCDC would run 4 branch libraries. The Airport Authority increased salaries this year by 6.5% and continues to spend $2.5 million a year to 'market' the airport, enough to eliminate the 'brown outs' of a half dozen fire stations. The administrative redundancy of these three agencies in measured in the millions, tens of millions. Over $350 million a year of public money flows through these three agencies, three times the amount of Prop D. While much of this money goes to necessary and important functions, just a modest savings through consolidation of 15% would generate $50 million.

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