Budget

The parking fee's too low

City streets are being rented out for a pittance

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EDITORIAL The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is reviewing its policy on neighborhood parking, which is a positive step: The current system has been in place for more than 30 years and has become an unwieldy mess. But the agency needs to do more than just aggregate districts and set uniform rules; it needs to adjust the concept of preferential parking, meters, and prices to reflect the reality that San Francisco can't afford (and shouldn't promote) free parking.Read more »

Compromise measures

Housing and business tax propositions don't solve the city's problems, but both sides say they're the best we can expect

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news@sfbg.com

San Franciscans are poised to vote this November on two important, complicated, and interdependent ballot measures — one a sweeping overhaul of the city's business tax, the other creating an Affordable Housing Trust Fund that relies on the first measure's steep increase in business license fees — that were the products of intense backroom negotiations over the last six months.Read more »

Public teacher in a public hospital

An educator's trip to the ER reveals an unpleasant truth about our city's budget

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By Sasha Cuttler

OPINION San Francisco Unified School District teachers and Department of Public Health nurses are going through difficult times. Despite years of service reductions, layoffs, and ceaseless budget pressures, teachers continue to educate San Francisco's young people while nurses care for the sick and injured.Read more »

The cost of shorter school days

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Everyone agrees that Jerry Brown is taking a huge gamble, putting big automatic education cuts in his budget in the hope that he'll convince voters to approve his tax hikes in November. It may be a wise political move: Most voters in California seem to support education spending, even if they still (wrongly) think the state wastes too much money on other services. Read more »

Lee avoids budget drama, but other fiscal fights loom

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When Mayor Ed Lee unveiled his proposed $7.3 billion city budget today, it was a sharp contrast to the annual budget rituals of his predecessor, Gavin Newsom, both in style and substance. Not only did Lee present a budget without employee layoffs or cuts to critical social services, but he capped months of collaborative work with the Board of Supervisors by presenting his proposal in Board Chambers.Read more »

The Obama budget, beyond the politics

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Man, the way the president's talking it sounds as if he's appointed the General Assembly of OccupySF to write his budget plans. He's going to make everyone pay a fair share of taxes. He's going to invest in affordable higher education. He's going to spend $350 billion on jobs programs. Just about everyone in the news media is calling it a "populist budget."Read more »

Editor's notes

When public schools can no longer afford to buy paper, it's time to reconsider the tax system

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tredmond@sfbg.com

I got a message the other day from my son's public school, begging parents to go out and buy a few reams of paper, because the school is almost out and can't afford any more. Seriously: A public middle school in San Francisco doesn't have enough paper for the school year and has to ask parents to go to Costco and pick some up.Read more »

Editor's notes

Why being the mayor "of the 100 percent" isn't good enough

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tredmond@sfbg.com

It's hard for California cities to raise taxes. Almost anything that amounts to a tax hike has to go before the voters, and most of the time, it requires a two-thirds vote.

But in a year when the local legislators are also up for election — and six of the supervisorial districts are up this fall — the voters can pass taxes with a simple majority.

That's one reason that 2012 is a perfect year for tax reform in San Francisco. The other is the spirit of Occupy.Read more »

The right way to rebuild CPMC

Presenting the community benefits agreement

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OPINION As 2011 comes to an end, San Francisco witnesses yet another year with community stakeholders and city officials mired in conflict over Sutter Health's plans to rebuild its massive CPMC hospital system. In what has proven over the years to be an intensely complicated, politicized, and polarizing issue, one important point has been left out of the public dialogue — this conflict is entirely resolvable.Read more »

Jerry Brown has lost his mind

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He's all for "realignment" -- giving counties more responsibility for public services. He's all for environmental initiatives that decrease the state's reliance on fossil fuels. But when a measure comes along that does both -- at no harm to anyone in Sacramento, and has the support of just about everyone in San Francisco from the Chamber of Commerce to the Labor Council -- he vetoes it.Read more »