Apr 12, 2024 - News

Gloria budget avoids steep cuts by tapping one-time fixes

Photo illustration of San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria with lines radiating from him.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

Mayor Todd Gloria's proposed city budget, which he unveiled Friday, increases homelessness spending and avoids steep cuts to city services, despite a projected $136.8 million shortfall.

Why it matters: The city turned to stop-gap measures β€” like halting contributions to its reserve fund for a yearβ€” to pay for ongoing expenses, and it will continue to run a structural deficit.

  • San Diego government is structured to spend more money each year than it anticipates collecting in taxes, and the new budget avoids any cuts that would confront that imbalance.

Friction point: The city is considering placing two measures on the November ballot that could confront its structural deficit.

  • Gloria and councilman Raul Campillo are pushing a one-cent sales-tax increase to boost the general fund.
  • Council president Sean Elo-Rivera is pursuing a measure that would ask voters to raise stormwater fees to fix the broken flood-control system.

What he's saying: "We were able to avoid the most dire cuts by using one-time measures we cannot responsibly repeat next year, so a major part of this process will be how we reckon with our structural deficit," Gloria said during a Friday news conference.

By the numbers: The $5.65 billion budget, which now faces months of City Council review and fine-tuning before its June approval, increases city spending in two big areas.

  • Homelessness: The proposed budget increases spending by $26.6 million.

That homelessness spending increase relies, in part, on cutting $15 million from the San Diego Housing Commission, which the Union-Tribune reported would come from agency reserves.

Zoom in: Other cuts include:

  • Eliminating the city's Office of Immigrant Affairs.
  • Absorbing the Climate Equity Fund β€” a special pot of money created to pay for projects that mitigate climate change and are reserved for the most-impacted neighborhoods β€” into the general fund.

What's next: The mayor is scheduled to release a revision to his budget proposal in May, based upon up-to-date revenue and spending projections.

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