With just five weeks to go before Election Day, backers of Proposition D are endorsing a major overhaul of the financial reforms guaranteed by the ballot measure.
The overhaul, developed by a task force of local business leaders, seeks to tighten substantially Prop. D’s fiscal reforms, freeze city spending and commit future budget surpluses to paying down debt and bolstering reserves. Doing so, the report said, would end the city’s ongoing budget deficits. Also, it could convince skeptical business leaders to endorse the ballot measure.
The report argues Prop. D, which would temporarily increase the city’s sales tax by a half-cent after the city implemented 10 cost-cutting reforms, won’t solve the city’s financial problems as is.
“There is not a chance in hell of Prop. D passing if they don’t do some additional work,” said Vince Mudd, the task force’s head and incoming chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. “I’m not saying it’s only these three things, there may be five things they have to do. But if they don’t do these things that we’ve shown, I don’t understand why anyone would vote ‘yes’ on it.”
Neither, apparently, do Prop. D’s backers.
Two council members who support Prop. D immediately requested Council President Ben Hueso put the report and its fiscal targets on the City Council agenda as soon as next week. Mayor Jerry Sanders, who is in Washington D.C. this week, released a statement calling the plan the “missing piece” in the Prop. D debate: a clear and definitive plan to end the budget deficits that have dogged City Hall for years.