San Francisco girds for looming federal cuts

San Francisco officials will be working to close a projected two-year budget deficit of more than $287 million in this year’s budget talks, but looming federal budget cuts or a possible economic slowdown could require stronger measures.

The city’s total general fund expenditures will grow by $1.4 billion over the next five years without corrective action, a 30 percent increase over current budgeted spending levels, according to an updated five-year financial plan released Thursday.

General fund revenue sources, on the other hand, are expected to grow only $541.3 million during the same period, due to slow to negative growth in areas such as hotel, sales and parking taxes.

That slower growth is expected to lead to a projected five-year budget gap of $907.4 million by fiscal year 2021-22.

However, these projections do not include the potential impact of state and federal budget cuts, or a possible economic slow down.

Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement:

“In order to protect and sustain the significant investments our City has made over the past five years, it is essential that we show fiscal discipline during this time of great uncertainty.”

The Board of Supervisors today heard an update on budget projections and on possible federal and state budget cuts.

Supervisor Malia Cohen, chair of the board’s Budget and Finance Federal Select Committee, said:

“The presidential administration has made clear its intentions to target San Francisco. … We must be prepared to make fiscal decisions that keep our City healthy and working.”