November 17, 2009
Plugged-In People Should Have Seen This One Coming A Year Away
"A report released Monday by the [San Francisco] controller's office shows that property tax revenues will likely be $35 million less than anticipated in the 2009-10 fiscal year that began July 1. Payroll tax revenues will probably be $24.8 million less than expected..."
∙ S.F. home value drop, jobless drain city budget [SocketSite]
∙ SocketSite’s Residential Real Estate Outlook For 2009 [SocketSite]
First Published: November 17, 2009 6:30 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
No doubt the Supes will take this as an invitation to increase spending, hire more city workers and give them raises.
Posted by: zzzzzzz at November 17, 2009 10:35 AM
I'm curious what percentage of the city's operating budget is derived from property taxes.
Posted by: sleepiguy at November 17, 2009 4:47 PM
There is an easy solution, or at least way to greatly blunt the impact, to this.
Repeal Prop 13. Why homeowners think they should use local and state goverments services paid for at market rate don't pay market rate taxes is beyond me.
Posted by: badlydrawnbear at November 18, 2009 6:35 AM
With all due respect to badlydrawnbear, the easiest solution would be to immediately layoff 20% of city workers, giving preference to those who actually live in SF. (Especially Cops and Firemen - They are overpaid and most don't even live in the city)
Posted by: Mystery Realtor at November 18, 2009 7:04 AM
given that spending is much, much, much higher than inflation adjusted, per capita pre-prop 13 levels, I'd prefer to see an income or residency tax so that all voters can decide on the level and quality of city services. SF elections, like propositions statewide, make it too easy to increase spending the other guy has to pay for. and, while prop 13 has considerable flaws, this is not one of them.
Posted by: steve at November 18, 2009 7:16 AM
btw, the FY 2005 budget was $5B. the new one is $6.4B. that's a major increase in 5 years for what feels like a major decline in city services. in 88-89, spending was $1.2B
Posted by: steve at November 18, 2009 7:37 AM
I say cut all city salaries over 80K by 20%.
This is public service, not self-service.
We have rent control and prop 13 to allow people with lower salaries to stay immune to rent increases. That should be enough to keep people in.
You can't have it both ways: overbloated salaries and artificially constrained cash inflow.
Posted by: Cut them at November 18, 2009 7:42 AM
"btw, the FY 2005 budget was $5B. the new one is $6.4B. that's a major increase in 5 years for what feels like a major decline in city services. in 88-89, spending was $1.2B"
Wow, if Steve's figures are correct, inflation adjustment suggests that 2009 spending should be only around $2.1B. Those are some crazy spending increases, and it's hard to tell what we got from the tripling.
Posted by: sfrenegade at November 18, 2009 8:23 AM
Doesn't SF have the highest ratio of city/county employees to residents of any major US city? Control of the budget has escaped the voters. The City needs to make some serious cuts that I don't think they have the political stomache for. Here is a good article pointing out just a few of the areas where Gavin's posse continues to be funded long after the need for their services has expired:
Posted by: OneEyedMan LEED AP at November 18, 2009 9:26 AM
1) Dig hole in sand
2) Place head in freshly dug hole
3) Cover head with sand
Posted by: OneEyedMan at November 18, 2009 9:59 AM
There's never been a better time to be a renter in SF! If service cuts or strikes or whatever this fiscal crisis brings get too bad, one can always leave for nicer environs.
Posted by: amused_in_soma at November 18, 2009 10:09 AM
San Francisco has too many "public servants" and is overpaying them.
In 2004, there were around 3,000 city staff making $100K or more.
A few years earlier it was half that number.
In 2007, it was over 8,000 city workers in that pay range. In 2008, nearly 9,000 city staff made $100K or more (the City has 28,000 or so staff total).
For every 80 residents, we have one city staffer making $100K or more - on your dime! Are you seeing value for such pay?
In San Francisco, the term "public servant" has been turned upside down.
For it's much more likely the public is serving the city worker.
Posted by: sf jack at November 18, 2009 10:16 AM
sfrenegade, from the NYT in 1988:
"Mr. Agnos said the city's budget for the 1988-89 fiscal year estimated expenditures of $1,239 million and revenue of $1,067 million. The city is legally required to balance its budget and will have to cut expenses and raise revenue to do so, the Mayor said."
it is amazing to me that city revenue (from all sources) has increased 6x (nominal dollars) and we are still talking about budget shortfalls -- and, worse, blaming the revenue side.
Posted by: steve at November 18, 2009 11:07 AM
Self-servants probably got their pay raises claiming how expensive RE was in SF ("can't buy my dream home with my salary, boo-hoo!"). And in ordered fashion went on and made sure they could participate into the home inflation with (almost) everyone else.
Now that RE prices are dropping everywhere and tax revenue falling with it, the equation should go the other way. Rents are dropping. Mortgage payments are dropping. No reason to keep self-servants salaries at these levels.
I say cut them. That will balance the books really fast.
Posted by: Cut them at November 18, 2009 12:32 PM