CounterPunch: Closing the City Budget Gap

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Two of the brightest young lights in the San Diego political sky -- Democrat Aaron Friberg and Republican Andrew Lund -- are weighing in every other week on hot topics.

    This week's topic: What should the city of San Diego cut to meet its projected $72 million budget gap in fiscal year 2012? -- Ed.


    Friberg's Punch: This sounds like fun! First of all, we can’t realistically cut any pension liabilities for FY2012. Currently retiring employees are already vested, so cost savings are at least six years away. Further, cutting retiree health benefits is a legal quagmire -- it’s highly likely that any cuts there will end up in court and won’t be realized in time for FY2012.

    So, what to cut? The city is already shutting down fire engines and firing cops, so let’s go easy on public safety. Let’s first shut down all the libraries -- for a cost savings of $34 million (FY2011 budget). Next, who needs city attorneys? That will save us $40 million. Voila:  $74 million. Of course, when your now illiterate neighbor steals your car, he won’t go to jail because the city no longer has any prosecutors -- but at least you didn’t have to pay $20 extra a year in sales tax!


    Lund's Punch:  Realizing that the city of San Diego has already made cuts to the budget, there is still one major tool remaining for the mayor to exercise: the managed competition of Prop C. By instituting managed competition, the city can save further millions. The city can use CCDC to incentivize businesses to provide more money for San Diego.

    If San Diego implements managed competition in the vehicle-fleet maintenance department, the printing office and the tree-trimming service, additional millions can be saved toward the city budget. According to the Reason Foundation, making changes to the vehicle-fleet maintenance can save $12.8 million per year. Add this to other departments and pretty soon we are talking about real money, as Senator Dirksen would say.

    Furthermore, giving CCDC new license to incentivize businesses to develop regions of the city will raise revenue, and the city will benefit from new projects.  


    Friberg's Counterpunch:  Andrew, you’re $60 million short! The Reason Foundation’s highest savings estimate for all three services is $13 million (the low end estimate is $6 million).

    Further, downtown development took 15-plus years--  expanding development beyond downtown won’t generate revenue by FY2012.
    If San Diegans want firefighters, cops and libraries, we must pass Proposition D to ensure a short-term infusion of cash. Dear Party of No: Give us solutions, not rhetoric. 


    Lund's Counterpunch:  Unlike my opponent, I do not consider this to be fun. However, I am very happy to see that the city’s labor unions have finally agreed with Mayor Jerry Sanders to implement Prop C! I want to congratulate the unions and Sanders for finally coming to an agreement that could save San Diego $27 million a year, according to the Union-Tribune.

    Remember, there is nothing temporary about a tax increase!


    Aaron Friberg, the president of the San Diego County Young Democrats, graduated UCLA Law in May 2009 and will begin as an associate attorney of Latham & Watkins LLP in the fall

    Andrew Lund is the president of the San Diego Young Republicans