City Hall's collaborators - Page 2

Budget deal leaves progressives uneasy as more bad news looms

"A blunt instrument is to take a significant fund, put it on reserve and have a hostage to make sure the administration doesn't use this most significant loophole. This is crafted to allow a majority of the Board of Supervisors to place a special marker on an appropriation that the board feels strongly about."

But Daly's idea went down in flames after Chiu and Avalos voted no along with Sups. Michela Alioto-Pier, Bevan Dufty, Sophie Maxwell, Sean Elsbernd and Carmen Chu. Afterward, Daly left the chambers and later returned to circulate a letter addressed to Chiu reading, "I am no longer interested in serving as Chair of the Rules Committee or Vice Chair of the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee."

Daly wasn't the only one not feeling this new spirit of collaboration. All the last-minute changes clearly exasperated Elsbernd, who paced his corner of the room for much of the meeting, rubbing his forehead, and looking irritated. Eventually, Elsbernd and Chu were the only two votes against the final budget.

The prospect of new revenue measures also dimmed at the meeting. A proposal to place a measure on the November ballot calling for a 0.5 percent sales tax hike fell short of the eight votes it needed (Alioto-Pier, Chu, Dufty, and Elsbernd voted no). And it's still too early to say whether a move to place a vehicle tax on the ballot can move forward because it's contingent on state legislation.

The state's funding raid could also hit the city hard. Leo Levenson, budget and analysis director with the San Francisco Office of the Controller, told the Guardian the city stands to lose $71 million in General Fund dollars and $32 million in other funds, although those numbers were still in flux at press time.

"The state must repay these funds within three years with interest," Levenson explained. "It is likely that San Francisco could be able to borrow money to mitigate the short-term financial impacts of this proposal, since the state is legally obligated to repay the funds within three years."

If the state goes after the gas tax, it could impact the city's General Fund by an additional $18 million, Levenson noted, "so the city would need to backfill this reduction to sustain basic street cleaning operations."

So budget season isn't over yet.

Gabrielle Poccia contributed to this report.