SF lawmakers approve budget, close $483M gap

After weeks of rallies and demonstrations on the steps of City Hall, San Francisco lawmakers are poised to pass a budget.

July 21, 2010 1:03:55 AM PDT
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday night approved a city budget, one that closed a $483 million deficit, after lengthy negotiations with Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Newsom submitted a $6.48 billion budget on June 1 that he said prioritized funding for infrastructure, jobs, public safety and fighting homelessness, while protecting core city services and not adding new tax increases. It did include sharp cuts to most city departments, reductions in overtime, and layoffs of hundreds of city workers.

On July 2, the Board of Supervisors budget committee reached an agreement that restored about $40 million to city programs for youth and families, seniors, job creation, and mental and behavioral health services. That figure became $44 million by the time the board voted Tuesday night.

The full board was set to vote on the budget proposal Tuesday afternoon, but last-minute negotiations with Newsom's office lingered into the night.

This year's budget process was defined by "a great deal of uncertainty" stretching from the tail end of the committee discussions through Tuesday's board meeting, said Supervisor John Avalos, who was reached by phone just after the vote.

"Last year, it was stretched out over a couple of days," Avalos said.

Part of the struggle, he said, was in "trying to find revenue that was real" and that would meet the needs of the communities hit hardest by the cuts.

Shortly before 11 p.m., the board approved the budget by a 10-1 vote, with Supervisor Chris Daly as the lone dissenter.

"In the end, we were able to have a budget process that was severed from other discussions," Avalos said, referring to pre-vote deliberations over charter amendments.

The board must take a second vote on the budget next week, after which Newsom can either sign or veto it. He also has the prerogative not to spend the money allocated for individual budget items.


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