Crucial Programs Saved; Mayor’s Pet Projects Remain

Paul Hogarthbyline‚ Jul. 02‚ 2009

Will Sacramento Blow Up City Budget? Will Newsom Target Add-Backs?

After intense negotiations, the Board of Supervisors’ Budget & Finance Committee began yesterday’s meeting 10 ½ hours past schedule – and approved a budget that Chair John Avalos and President David Chiu had crafted with the Mayor’s Office. The package has an unprecedented level of “add-backs” – $43 million – to save crucial services, and will stop all contracting of City workers. But this victory may be illusory and short-lived. The Board took $16 million out of the Police, Fire and Sheriff Departments – but what’s troubling is what was not cut. Gavin Newsom’s City-funded campaign for Governor remains intact, as are his “pet projects” like 311 and the Community Justice Center. Other savings in the budget are mostly technical, but part of the “add-back” money ($7 million) requires taking a chunk of what was set aside to deal with inevitable state budget cuts. Unless the voters pass serious revenue measures, expect to see devastating mid-year cuts in a few months. And with Newsom’s track record of making such cuts that thwart the will of the Supervisors, the future looks precarious.