San Diego County officials recently released their recommended budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and the proposed $745.8 million increase has some voters concerned. In a city that has been plagued by a homelessness crisis, a housing crisis, and a hurting tourism industry, many voters are wondering why the Democrats would propose such an outrageous budget.
The proposed budget includes hiring nearly 500 new employees, which many voters see as wasteful spending. San Diego County has been struggling to provide basic government functions and has even had to turn to private companies to fill in the gaps. Hiring more employees will only add to the budget, and it’s unclear if it will even result in any meaningful change for San Diegans.
While the Democrats claim that the proposed budget will ensure a just, sustainable, and resilient future for all San Diegans, many voters are skeptical. The proposed budget includes $66.7 million for mental health and substance use disorder services, $25 million for the Innovative Housing Trust Fund, $18 million for a South County Family Justice Center, and $5 million for free legal aid for migrants. While these are all noble causes, voters are concerned that the budget will not actually address the root causes of the city’s problems.
Furthermore, the proposed budget includes $3.8 million for a Regional Decarbonization Framework and $2.5 million for design work on a new carbon portfolio plan for the county that calls for a 90 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in facilities by 2030. While climate change is undoubtedly an important issue, many voters are concerned that the Democrats are focusing on this issue at the expense of addressing the city’s more immediate needs.
The fact that the Board of Supervisors will have to pass the budget with at least three votes, and with Nathan Fletcher’s seat presumably vacant for several months, means that it will have to be a bipartisan deal. Voters are hoping that the Republicans on the board will have the sense to reject this wasteful and misguided budget proposal.
San Diego County is facing serious problems, and the Democrats’ proposed budget does not address them adequately. Voters are urging their elected officials to focus on the city’s immediate needs, such as the homelessness crisis, the housing crisis, and the hurting tourism industry. It’s time for the Democrats to start leading or step aside and let someone else take the reins.
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