With San Diego’s City Council racing against an Aug. 6 deadline to place a tax increase or other new revenue source on November’s ballot, others already are gearing up for 2012.

Members of a Republican and business-backed coalition that blasted a sales tax proposal earlier this month are talking about major ballot initiatives on two of their key cost-cutting demands: pensions and outsourcing.

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association is exploring a pension initiative that would increase the organization’s involvement in campaigns to a new level, CEO Lani Lutar said. The association is considering elimination of the requirement that employee groups approve certain pension changes and increasing the use of 401(k)-style plans instead of the traditional defined benefit plan.

The initiative, Lutar said, might be more aggressive than those recommended by a city pension reform committee in 2004.

“Right now, a lot of people are saying we are just tinkering at the fringes,” Lutar said.

After his outsourcing initiative imploded last month because of too many duplicate signatures, Councilman Carl DeMaio vowed to pursue a similar measure in 2012. This week, he hinted that a pension measure also was in the offing, too. Paid signature gatherers charge better rates when they’re collecting for multiple initiatives, he said.

Lutar and DeMaio belong to a group that dubs their approach to the city’s fiscal problems “reform before revenue,” arguing the city hasn’t cut enough costs to pursue new tax dollars to cure annual budget deficits.


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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