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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just About Everybody in S.F. Loses With State's Budget Cuts -- But Losing Less Is the New Winning

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2009 at 12:01 AM

click to enlarge money_vacuum.jpg
When the city controller yesterday announced state budget cuts will deal San Francisco a $26.5 million punch in the gut, your humble narrator immediately thought of Jon Lovitz. Just as the Saturday Night Live nebbish once pitched himself to single women with the battle cry "Lower your standards!" so the controller's report was a classic example of bad news being a welcome respite from horrific news.

Sure, a $26.5 rug being pulled out from beneath the city is bad -- but it's not nearly as bad as the $36.7 million the controller predicted we could be out back on Aug. 4. (The $18 million the city budgeted in reserve, which looked ridiculously inadequate for a while, is now merely inadequate). 

The report -- which you can see here -- is concise, detailed, and rather readable. Here's the breakdown on who "won" by losing the least:

Biggest losers:

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Family shelter funds and employment subsidization was anticipated to take a $2.8 million hit in August -- but now stands to lose $3.5 million;
  • Funds for children's immunization and health programs were anticipated to lose $600,000 -- but will be short $900,000.
Biggest "winners":

  • CalWORK welfare to work employment services was bracing for a $9 million hit. It will "only" lose $2.9 million;
  • Child Welfare Services, anticipating a $4.5 million shortfall, now faces cuts of $2.9 million.
Congrats -- you didn't lose anything:

Breaking even is the gold standard these days, it would seem.

  • State support for Healthy Families (facing a $2.2 million cut); and a bevy of Medi-Cal related information systems (facing $2.4 million shortfall) won't be cut at all.  
Per the "mini-budget" deal hammered out by Supervisor John Avalos during the joyous prior budget ordeal, Mayor Gavin Newsom now has 21 days to submit his budget plan to the Board (that'd be Oct. 5). The Board then has the next 45 days to "amend, adopt, or take no action" to the mayor's handiwork.

Budget deficits -- they never get old!  

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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