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Statement: “Not a cent of this tax is required to go to police, fire and other vital city services. Politicians can spend this money any way they want,” the anti-Proposition D website, ReformSanDiego.Com says.

Determination: True

Analysis: The city of San Diego’s November financial reform ballot measure, known as Proposition D, would increase San Diego’s sales tax by a half-cent once a series of 10 cost cutting conditions are met.

Proponents of the measure are using public safety as their main selling point, holding a press conference in front of a fire station and talking about catastrophic cuts to police and fire departments unless the proposition passes.

Those two departments make up more than half the city’s day-to-day operating budget and city leaders have pledged to make public safety the top priority for new revenues.

But, as we’ve noted, and as the anti-Prop. D campaign says on its website, the measure does not earmark any of the estimated $102 million in new sales tax money to public safety.

The money could be spent for anything the operating budget pays for including public safety, parks, libraries and City Council members’ own salaries. Or, as opponents point out, it could pay for the rising cost of the city’s pension obligations.

Backers of the proposition could have dedicated the tax increase to public safety, but state law requires that taxes tied to a certain purpose be passed by a two-thirds margin. This measure is a general sales tax increase, which only requires a majority of voters to say “yes.”

Since money that comes from additional sales tax revenue is not earmarked, including public safety, we’re calling the statement true.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

You can also e-mail new Fact Check suggestions to factcheck@voiceofsandiego.org. What claim should we explore next?

— LIAM DILLON

Summer Polacek

Summer Polacek was formerly the Development Manager at Voice of San Diego.

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