The city now has a multiyear budget process and projections are supposed to go beyond a single year. But what's missing — and what nobody is talking about — is a long-term plan to restore critical city services to a sustainable level. That means talking — now — about tax proposals for 2012 and beyond and including those revenue streams in long-term budget planning.
Because the city parks, the public health system, the libraries, the schools, affordable housing programs, and the social safety net are in terrible condition today, the result of year after year of all-cuts budgets. And while the supervisors and the mayor wrangle over the final details, and advocates try to win back a few dollars here and a few dollars there, it's important to recognize that this budget does nothing to fix the damage.
"We're about $10 million short of what we need right now to keep service providers at current levels," noted Jennifer Freidenbach, who runs the Coalition on Homelessness. "But we also need to restore the health and human services system that was slaughtered under Gavin Newsom."