Mayor's 2013-2015 Proposed Balanced Budget

Mayor's 2013-2015 Proposed Balanced Budget

May 31, 2013

Board of Supervisors Board Chambers, San Francisco

Text of Mayor's 2013-2015 Proposed Balanced Budget

Good morning, everyone! Thank you for joining me here in the Board Chambers.

Thank you to Board President David Chiu, Budget Chair Mark Farrell, members of the Board, elected officials, Commissioners, and Department Heads. And, welcome to the members of the public who have joined us this morning.

This year’s budget reflects a lot of hard work between City government and the people we serve. We’ve met in every district of the City, worked with our elected City family, and listened to hundreds of community leaders and providers who help us deliver services to the people of San Francisco.

It’s because of this consensus approach, that I am proud to propose a responsible and balanced two-year budget that reflects the core values that we share in San Francisco – values of fiscal responsibility, social responsibility and investing in our City’s future.

When we began this year’s budget, we began like many years before – trying to reduce significant budget shortfalls.

But, because we have pursued policies to control costs, grow our economy, create jobs and stabilize our fiscal health, this year I am proposing a budget that protects our social safety net, one that increases public safety, and one that invests in our City’s infrastructure at unprecedented levels. It is also a budget that significantly grows our City’s reserves.

This budget is being delivered as San Francisco’s economy is recovering, growing, and moving in the right direction. And, San Franciscans are getting back to work!

In fact, our unemployment rate has dropped from 9.5 percent in January 2011 to an astounding 5.4 percent last month!

I know it hasn’t been easy. We had to work hard with our Health Service System, health care providers and labor to reduce employee health care costs. Because of our collaboration, we will now save $52 million over the next two years.

And, we’ve made tough, but necessary choices on everything from escalating pension costs to reforming our unfair and job punishing business tax.

We’ve injected a healthy dose of fiscal discipline with two-year budgeting, five-year financial planning and a 10-Year Capital Plan to get us to this point.

But it’s been worth it. San Francisco’s credit ratings have been upgraded by rating agencies in the last year, making our tax dollars go further when we deliver capital projects and giving our City even more investor confidence.

So, now is not the time to take our eye off the ball – we have to continue reforms to protect our City’s economic recovery and make our City safe, solvent and successful – like taking meaningful action to address our $4.4 billion unfunded retiree health care liability. Thank you, Supervisor Farrell, for taking this on. You have my full support on this important issue.

While reforms and sacrifices have spared us the deep cuts we experienced during the deepest part of the economic downturn, we still have much work to do. This year’s projected 123.6 million dollar General Fund shortfall and next year’s 256 million dollar shortfall require strategic choices and strategic investment.

In this budget, you will see:

fiscal prudence
a high level of service to our residents
investments that protect our social safety net
increased public safety
support for our neighborhoods
support for our critical infrastructure and
investments in our economy and job creation.

One thing we agreed on early was that in a time of State and Federal cuts, protecting our social safety net is more important than ever. I have rejected all proposed year one mental health and substance abuse reductions from the Public Health Department and I have restored $4 million in federal cuts to programs serving people living with HIV & AIDS. 

And, we will continue our efforts to be a healthier City. The Affordable Care Act will extend health insurance to 35,000 San Franciscans, and our Department of Public Health and the Human Services Agency will implement our nation’s health care reform.

On our streets, there are still too many people and families without a place to call home. That’s why we are extending a dedicated emergency family shelter to provide year round services, adding 25 more units of family supportive housing and supporting a new approach to housing transitional age youth, and getting them connected to work.  

To offset the State’s deep cuts to our school district, this proposed budget includes an unprecedented 110 million dollars in educational support over the next two years. And, we are taking on additional responsibilities at our school district where we will see new support from the private sector for middle schools and new support with our federal partners with Promise Neighborhoods grants. And, thanks to our City Librarian, we will be extending library hours throughout the City!

We are going to make San Francisco an even safer city. We developed a Six-Year Police and Fire Staffing Plan to train the next generation of San Francisco first responders. Over the next two years, San Francisco will hire 300 new, sworn police officers with 6 new academy classes. And, we will add 120 firefighters with 3 new fire academy classes.

With 35 construction cranes across our skyline, you can see public and private construction jobs being created - in fact an estimated 223,000 jobs will be created over the next ten years from City projects alone.

For our part, we are making a sound investment of $25.1 billion in capital projects over the next ten years through the City’s Ten-Year Capital Plan.

This proposed budget includes unprecedented levels of general fund support for these smart capital investments - $72 million in year one and $105 million in year two. Thank you, President Chiu, for your collaboration on our City’s Ten-Year Capital Plan that will ensure we strategically invest in our City’s infrastructure.

This budget will fully fund the street repaving program to improve streets and sidewalks, and continue construction and planning on critical projects, such as the Water and Sewer System Improvement Programs, our new General Hospital, the Bayview Opera House, and improvements to MUNI. And thanks to the $195 million dollar voter-approved parks bond, we will continue to invest in our parks and open spaces.

And last year, together with the support of the voters, we passed the Housing Trust Fund, a 1.5 billion dollar stream of funding over the next 30 years for affordable housing and assistance for first-time home buyers.

Over the next two years, we have budgeted 42.8 million dollars for new affordable housing development, for helping first time home owners – including first responders – with down payment assistance, and preserve and stabilize existing housing.  Here’s a fact: Every public dollar for new affordable housing development is leveraged with two private dollars. 

All of these investments are needed to protect the housing stock in our City and to make sure San Francisco can be affordable. And, we are doing it smartly, with some of the strongest tenant protections in place.

Small businesses are the heart and soul of our local economy. My proposed budget includes funding for an online Business Portal to cut through bureaucratic red tape and make it much easier for an entrepreneur to start and operate a business in San Francisco.

This budget continues my Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative that is creating customized plans in 25 neighborhood commercial districts and providing a Job Squad that brings City Hall to our neighborhood businesses.

And because San Francisco is truly a global city, we will build on the success of ChinaSF and expand our outreach to Latin American and Asian markets - not just attract businesses to locate here, but introduce “Made in San Francisco” products to these growing markets.

While the worst of the economic crisis may be behind us, we cannot deviate from our commitment to fiscal responsibility and reform. We will continue to invest in our neighborhoods, in our infrastructure and most importantly, in our people.

I want to recognize Budget Chair Supervisor Mark Farrell for leading the budget effort and making it a collaborative process.

Thank you to my staff, led by Steve Kawa and to my Budget Office, led by Kate Howard.

Also, thank you Ben Rosenfield, our City Controller, and his staff. And thank you, in advance, to Budget Analyst Harvey Rose.

Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and get this budget done collaboratively. Let’s get to work on getting 6,000 young people jobs this summer!