Ed Lee’s “no social service cuts” budget

Pub date May 29, 2013
WriterTim Redmond
SectionPolitics Blog

So Mayor Ed Lee is going to spare social services, and apparently at least part of the Department of Public Heath, from any further budget cuts. That’s good. Lives will be saved.

Lee — like Willie Brown before him — has the luck of serving as mayor during a period of growth, not recession. We don’t know how long the boom is going to last, or what will happen when it ends (as these things always do), but right now, in Sacramento and San Francisco City Hall, there is joy over the fact that revenues are up.

(Lee’s supporters on this blog and elsewhere will say it’s because of the mayor’s “pro-jobs” policies that we have all this new revenue. But remember, he promised tax breaks for Twitter and other tech firms that are moving into mid-Market, so we’re not getting much extra payroll tax revenue there. SF is a disgustingly hot real-estate market right now and more people with more money are moving in, so that’s absolutely a factor. So is the general California recovery.)

Either way, I’m always happy to hear about “no-cuts” budgets. But I have to keep raising the question:

If you’ve already cut about a billion dollars worth of services — which is about what most people on all sides of the political spectrum agree has happened in SF in the past decade — and now you’ve agreed not to cut any more, are you really making progress?

At what point do we need to start planning to restore all the services that are gone?