“We're going to decertify the supplementals,” confirmed deputy controller Monique Zmuda — who had no idea when the last time was the city was forced to take this drastic a financial step. This means that the Board of Supes “is not able to act on legislation tomorrow” that would call for additional city funds to be spent. Quite simply, the money is not there; like dealing with a full e-mail inbox, the city cannot spend any more money unless it makes room by cutting the budget or crafting new revenue-generators.
Here's the back story: Several weeks ago, Supervisors John Avalos and Chris Daly introduced legislation that would have cost the city roughly $8 million dollars but staved off layoffs and reversed pay cutbacks in the health department. At the time, the controller's office had not researched the availability of the necessary city funds to pay for such a move. Now, however, the data is in — and it's horrific. Due largely to huge shortfalls from reduced property taxes and evaporating payroll taxes, the city is $53.1 million in the hole — and carrying only a $25 million General Fund surplus.
So when Avalos' and Daly's legislation comes up Tuesday, “procedurally there are any number of things they can do — but they cannot pass it,” warns Zmuda. “They can continue it or table it. They can continue it until other cuts are made.”