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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Poof, There It Goes: Up to $142 million in city revenue is "uncertain"

Posted By on Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 3:07 PM

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In terms of budgeting, cities and people aren't so different: you spend what you have and then you spend what you plan to have.

This all rests on the notion that you will actually eventually have, and as the City Controller warned on Thursday, San Francisco is betting heavily on having $142 million, none of which is at all guaranteed.


In a letter sent out to city officials on Tuesday, Controller Ben Rosenfield said Mayor Gavin Newsom's plan to erase a half-billion dollar deficit is "reasonable," but presented the following three cautions:

  • $123 million is federal funding, none of which is guaranteed;
  • $30 million is what the city expects the state to take away, and with an $18 billion deficit at the state level, Sacramento could take more;
  • $19 million is fees and taxes proposed, but not yet approved by the Board of Supervisors.
This gives further credence to statements made by progressive supervisors that the Mayor's budget is "a house of cards" which relies on "manna from heaven." Many of the final decisions on the money from Washington won't be made until after the fiscal year begins on July 1. And just this week, Most Powerful San Franciscan Nancy Pelosi was forced to cave into Congressional moderates and cut some $24 billion from the stimulus.

On top of that, exhausting "one-time" revenue sources like the Rainy Day fund -- so much for all that, by the way -- kick hard financial decisions down the road to future budget years, all of which are projected to be shit.

Expect this dire forecast -- and any of the other dire forecasts which comprise a giant shit-heap of dire forecasts -- to be used as ammunition in the brewing political fight over tax measures progressives want to put on the November ballot.

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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