Newsom asks departments to cut budgets 

Mayor Gavin Newsom is calling on department heads to again slash their proposed budgets in light of a $27.6 million request for affordable housing by a city supervisor, a response the Board of Supervisors’ president called "laughable" and "political."

Newsom’s request that department heads review budgets submitted for next year and suggest another 3 percent in cuts would be in addition to a 3 percent cut departments were already asked to make within proposed budgets for the fiscal year that begins July 1, in order to offset a projected $25.4 million deficit, Newsom’s budget director, Nani Coloretti, said.

The budget deficit would be considerably worse in 2007-08, but there is an assumed balance of $126.6 million left over from this year’s budget.

In light of that surplus, Supervisor Chris Daly, chairman of The City’s budget committee, introduced a $27.6 million funding supplement last month for affordable housing.

Newsom told his department heads on Monday that he was anticipating additional current-year supplemental appropriations, along with Daly’s, that would lead to an even bigger budget shortfall for next year.

Several members of the Board of Supervisors accused Newsom of overreacting to one supplemental request, in order to appear fiscally prudent during an election year.

"The mayor’s actions and overreactions are laughable," Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said. "This is transparently political on their part."

Daly was not available for comment.

In fiscal year 2005-06, San Francisco faced a budget deficit for the coming year, as well as a surplus for that year of $137 million. The Board of Supervisors submitted proposals for the surplus totaling more than $180 million, including a proposal by Newsom to put $36.7 toward capital needs for The City’s hospitals. In the end, the Board of Supervisors voted to use $47 million from the surplus for street resurfacing work, parks and recreation centers, and affordable housing projects.

Coloretti said The City is also preparing itself for wage increases for police, firefighters and nurses that have not been calculated into the budget.

beslinger@examiner.com

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