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San Diego City Council voted 6-2 today to place a sales tax and cost-cutting package on November’s ballot, in what was billed as the most comprehensive financial reform effort the city has seen in years.
Following more than a month of public and private debate and more apparent failures than imaginable, the council endorsed a plan that would allow voters to decide if they’ll increase their taxes in exchange for addressing pension, retiree health care and outsourcing reforms.
A big boost came from Mayor Jerry Sanders who broke his weeks-long silence this morning to endorse a package developed by Councilwoman Donna Frye with an assist by Councilman Todd Gloria. Labor union representatives jumped on board, too.
But a coalition of Republican and business leaders strongly opposed to the plan. Reforms, they said, didn’t go far enough and weren’t specific. They planned a formal and aggressive campaign against it.
Today marked the first approval in the process. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s role now becomes key as he has to craft a ballot measure that meets the council’s desires and survives legal challenge. He’s already noted many challenges a ballot measure would have to overcome. Council plans to return next week to place the item formally on the ballot.
More to come soon.
— LIAM DILLON