A City Council committee will discuss putting a half-cent sales tax increase before voters in November, said Andrea Tevlin, the city’s independent budget analyst.

Tevlin believed the item added late to Wednesday’s Rules Committee agenda, titled the “Essential Services Protection Measure,” was docketed at the request of committee chairman, Council President Ben Hueso.

Hueso’s play for a sales tax boost comes a week after Mayor Jerry Sanders’ failure to shop an increase as part of a reform package that included labor concessions. Sanders never publicly mentioned raising the sales tax and an organized opposition of mainly Sanders’ Republican allies pilloried the idea for two weeks.

The City Council faces an Aug. 6 deadline to place measures on November’s ballot, the last election before the mayor’s self-imposed June 2011 deadline for a plan to fix the city’s persistent budget deficits. A half-cent sales tax increase to 9.25 percent could raise $103 million annually.

The city needs six council members to vote in favor of putting a sales tax increase on the ballot and then a majority of city voters to approve.

Organized labor leaders canceled a press conference scheduled for this morning because they achieved their goal of getting a tax increase on a committee docket, said Evan McLaughlin, political director of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council.

“We asked that there be a venue for these issues to be addressed with the understanding the voters would get to weigh in on this very important financial issue,” McLaughlin said.

Hueso’s office hasn’t responded to requests for comment last night and this morning.


Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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