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On February 14, Andrea Tevlin, independent budget analyst who works for the council, said in a study that the City has a structural deficit, or one that is “marked by persistence,” with expenditures exceeding revenues year after year. To balance the budget, the City utilizes one-time fixes such as selling land, snatching tobacco-settlement revenues from the library, and using general fund reserves. “One-time revenues should not be used to fund ongoing expenditures,” says Tevlin. Without reform, “municipal services will continue to erode,” she says. Tevlin’s study is a public document that rating agencies and investors can access.

The stark absence of competence and ethics got San Diego into this mess. Retired banker Davis is still concerned about both. He worries that in lining up a bond sale, “the City would have to agree to large up-front fees and an extended lock-in period [a guarantee of a certain interest rate for a long period] before a refinancing would be allowed.”

All told, says Davis, “Entering the market seems a logical move as soon as the City has its ducks in a row and can borrow.” But how long will it be before those quackers queue up? “I sat through Mayor Murphy’s sale of ballpark bonds to Merrill Lynch [the interest rate was an astonishing 7.5 percent on insured bonds], and while I’m no longer sitting around the campfire with city staff, I sense a similar debacle when the City does again enter the market.”

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Justice4all March 13, 2008 @ 1:17 p.m.

"On February 14, Andrea Tevlin, independent budget analyst who works for the council, said in a study that the City has a structural deficit, or one that is “marked by persistence,” with expenditures exceeding revenues year after year. To balance the budget, the City utilizes one-time fixes such as selling land, snatching tobacco-settlement revenues from the library, and using general fund reserves. “One-time revenues should not be used to fund ongoing expenditures,” says Tevlin. Without reform, “municipal services will continue to erode,” she says. Tevlin’s study is a public document that rating agencies and investors can access."

Structural deficit, I like that term. How about financial ineptitude? Or economical dysfunction?

Dont spend what you haven't got.

Don, I know its just a fantasy but couldn't we just vote on a balanced budget amendment and force the issue of financial reponsibility?

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Don Bauder March 13, 2008 @ 4:26 p.m.

Response to post #1: The City uses all kinds of gimmicks such as land sales to balance the budget now. With all the money that is owed the pension system, and with the infrastructure rotting and services declining, the only way the budget could be meaningfully balanced is through some tax and fee increases, along with cost-cutting such as whacking corporate welfare and slashing excessive City worker pay and fringes. Donna Frye, without saying she favored higher taxes, said they would have to be considered. The U-T savaged her, distorting what she said completely, and Sanders then came in and said there would be no tax increase. (Of course, he instituted a huge fees increase.) Frankly, I think San Diego suffers from institutionalized dishonesty, and won't be able to face its fiscal mess any time soon. Best, Don Bauder

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