SAN FRANCISCO May 31 San Francisco's mayor
proposed a two-year city budget plan on Friday that would close
deficits of $124 million in the next fiscal year and $256
million the following year and seize on strengthening revenue to
build reserves totaling 4 percent of general fund revenue.
Mayor Edwin Lee proposed closing the shortfalls with a
combination of one-time and ongoing savings, including from
health and pension spending, department consolidations and
better-than-expected revenue propelled primarily by rising
payroll and property tax receipts.
San Francisco's high-technology companies have blossomed
since the financial crisis, driving up property prices and
adding to payrolls across the city.
Lee noted in his budget report that San Francisco's
unemployment rate is well below both the U.S. national jobless
rate and California's unemployment rate, while 35 tower cranes
are at work on construction projects across the city. Its
important tourism is also going strong, he said.
"I am delivering this budget as San Francisco's economy is
recovering, growing and moving in the right direction," Lee
said. "San Franciscans are getting back to work: our
unemployment rate has dropped from 9.6 percent in January 2011
to 5.4 percent last month."
His proposed fiscal 2013-14 budget totals $7.9 billion, a
$561.6 million - or 7.6 percent - increase from the current
fiscal 2012-13 budget.
Under Lee's plan, the city's general fund would account for
$3.9 billion of the total budget, a $456.5 million - or 13.1
percent - increase from the current fiscal year.
Lee proposed to add $30 million over the next two years to
reserves, which would give San Francisco $157 million in rainy
day and budget stabilization funds by the end of its 2014-15
The plan does not include cuts to services and proposes
funding for about 27,900 city employees, which would mark 3.7
percent growth in the city's payroll from hiring additional
police officers, firefighters and vehicle-repair workers.
The plan also anticipates additional employees for the
city's public health department and human services agency to
handle increased caseloads from the implementation of the 2010
U.S. healthcare law.
Lee's plan calls for spending $177 million in capital
projects over the next two years and would fund economic
development initiatives to aid small businesses and help local
firms form business ties in Latin America and Asia.
The plan will go to the city's board of supervisors for