August 5, 2010 (San Diego) – The San Diego City Council voted 6-2 in a special session Wednesday to let voters decide whether the City should have a temporary (five year) half-cent increase in sales tax. The “Reform before Revenue” measure, proposed by Councilmembers Donna Frye and Todd Gloria, will require that key pension and financial reforms be met before the tax increase would take effect.
“We’re asking the voters of San Diego to tell us if they are willing to pay a little extra to restore core services,” said Councilmember Marti Emerald, who supported the measure that will appear on November's ballot. “That includes public safety, libraries and plugging pot holes,” added Emerald, who chairs the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee.
Not one penny would be collected until pensions are reduced and managed competition is enacted as part of a comprehensive package of reforms, she said, noting that the City Council and Mayor have already enacted budget cuts totaling $335 million annually but still face a budget gap.
The City has recently drawn criticism for brownouts in fire service due to budget cuts, a situation that may have contributed to the death of two-year-old Bentley Do. The tot choked to death on a gumball by the time emergency responders arrived, nearly 10 minutes after 911 had been called.
Kevin Falconer and Carl DeMaio voted against the measure, claiming it would not fix the City's budget deficit.