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I get the sense from some e-mailers that recent my posts about the budget, and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’ veto, have lacked clarity regarding what was vetoed and what wasn’t.

This is especially true regarding money budgeted for Grant Thronton, LLP, the city’s privatization consultants. There is confusion as to how much will be allocated for the consultants under different scenarios.

The following, I hope, will clear things up.

Sanders submitted a fiscal 2009 budget to City Council that included the elimination of 125 jobs and $900,000 for Grant Thornton. In addition, Sanders has asked council to allocate $400,000 from the fiscal 2008 reserves fund for Grant Thornton.

Council restored 62 of those jobs at a cost of $4.3 million. Council’s budget pays for the job restorations by, among other things, subtracting $400,000 from the Grant Thornton line item.

The reasoning behind taking money from the Grant Thornton allocation was that since Sanders was asking for $400,000 from the 2008 budget, that amount could be taken out of the 2009 budget instead.

Sanders’ veto this past Monday was a line-item veto, the line item being the job restorations recommended by Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin. However, (and this is where people get confused) by vetoing the job restorations, he is also vetoing the measures taken by City Council to pay for the restorations.

So, if Sanders’ veto is upheld, the Grant Thornton allocation will be $900,000; if council overrides the veto, the allocation will be $500,000. If the veto is upheld and Council grants Sanders’ request for the $400,000 from the 2008 reserves fund, the allocation will be $1.3 million. If the veto is overridden, but the reserves fund request granted, then it will be $1.1 million.

If you’re still confused, everything will likely be clearer on Monday, when these votes take place.

DAVID WASHBURN

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