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The Union-Tribune had a report today on a trip to Sacramento by a coalition of mayors, including San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, who are protesting state proposals to take a larger share of gasoline tax money from cities.

That could result in a $24 million hit on the city, Sanders has said. From the story:

By taking revenue generated by the sales tax on gasoline, the governor and legislators can shield themselves from claims that they are cutting into local fire and police protection budgets, the mayors say.

But Sanders said San Diego has to provide minimum road maintenance for safety reasons. Otherwise, costs will just climb with inflation and the liability exposure if someone is hurt or killed is just too much of a risk to ignore, he said.

As a result, the city would have to look elsewhere to backfill some roads funding — including police and fire department budgets.

“We don’t have the luxury of not doing that,” he said.

Sanders said the city would still have to consider laying off 124 police and just as many firefighters if the state takes $24 million.

The San Diego City Council this week signed off on a plan to close an $83 million budget hole through a combination of compensation cuts, tapping reserves and fee increases.

RANI GUPTA

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