Sales tax failure darkens San Francisco budget outlook

Since voters rejected a half-cent sales tax on Tuesday, Mayor Ed Lee will not have $60 million in new revenue to help plug next fiscal year’s budget deficit.

Just how grim the city and county budget will look will come into sharper focus on Dec. 15, when the state will announce deeper budget cuts if its summer revenue projections are off. The most recent deficit projection shows a San Francisco shortfall of $350 million for the fiscal  year that begins July 1.

“The mayor remains concerned about what state and federal revenue cuts will mean for The City, especially in light of the Dec. 15th trigger cuts from the state,” Lee’s spokeswoman Christine Falvey said. “The [half-cent sales tax] revenue would have helped offset those impacts to public safety and social service programs.”

While voters rejected the sales measure, they did approve a $248 million bond for street repaving and a ballot measure to reduce The City’s contribution to pensions, two other measures backed by Lee.

“We are in the early stages of developing our budget for the next two years where we will face budget shortfalls again,” Falvey said. “Our job is now more difficult, but the collaborative budget process we just went through for this year helped us find cost savings and efficiencies, and we will have to do the same for the next few years.”

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