May 14, 2024 - Politics

Mayor Gloria finds $13 million to reverse some proposed budget cuts

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 announced Tuesday he will reverse cuts to housing and homelessness programs proposed in his budget last month, based on the city's slightly improved financial situation.

Why it matters: His decision ends weeks of dialogue with leaders from the San Diego Housing Commission, who argued the proposed cuts would undo progress on the homelessness crisis.

Driving the news: The mayor's revised budget, released each May based on the latest city financial data, increased general spending by $13 million compared to last month's $5.65 billion proposal.

  • Nearly $2 million is from better-than-expected tax collections, but the rest came from slowing down city spending.

Friction point: Gloria had proposed tapping $15 million in Housing Commission reserves to pay for homelessness programs provided by the agency, but officials said the most they could provide was $8 million.

  • Also, state officials agreed to speed up sending over $7 million — the city's share from the latest round of a homelessness prevention program — to make up the difference.

State of play: The new budget partially or fully restores funding to Housing Commission programs focused on eviction prevention, homeless services outreach, housing instability prevention and the Neil Good Day shelter downtown.

County supervisor Monica Montgomery Steppe and others also criticized Gloria's initial proposal for eliminating equity-focused programs.

  • Gloria restored two projects from the climate equity fund — which aims to mitigate climate impacts in certain communities — but is still diverting $7.4 million from that fund to city services.
  • He is no longer eliminating a gang-prevention program or funds for the city's Access 4 All WiFi program.

Yes, but: He's still eliminating a cannabis equity program before it really got started.

The bottom line: Increased funding let the mayor settle some public disputes over the upcoming budget year, but he still balanced spending with one-time sources that leaves the city's structural budget deficit unaddressed.

  • Charles Modica, independent budget analyst for the city, told City News Service that steeper long-term cuts may be necessary next year if proposed tax increases aren't approved.

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