Beyond the bloody cuts - Page 2

This is no time for modest, cautious proposals. The budget situation is alarming

The supervisors need to look at what new taxes make the most sense and prepare for a special election in the spring to put a revenue package before the voters. And everyone — including the mayor — needs to campaign hard for it.

The city also needs to look at the rainy-day fund, money set aside for bad economic times. Only a small amount of the close to $100 million now in that fund is available in any one year, but that rule might have to be changed.

This crisis is an opportunity — a chance to examine how the city's current revenue sources are unfair, unstable, and unwieldy. Why are business taxes flat (big corporations and small businesses pay the same rate)? Why does San Francisco rely so much on property and transfer taxes, which shift radically with economic ups and downs? And of course, a public power system would generate enough money to cover a huge part of the deficit. The supervisors need to find an immediate revenue-based solution, but should also start creating a serious task force to overhaul the entire revenue side of the budget. Today.

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