the "revenue advisory panel" seems to be the way that the new city
administration is trying to getting political approval from citizens to increase taxes.
SF already has the highest per capita revenue/expense of any city/county of
comparable size in the USA (and probably the world). for many years SF has
been wasting money on unproductive and counter-productive programs. during fiscal
stringency, we shd advocate to eliminate those unproductive programs, rather
than find new ways to tax us, to continue those programs.
the emphasis shd be on making government more efficient and effective, giving
citizens a better bang for the buck, rather than increasing taxes to meet a
"shortfall". from the point of view of government, revenue-enhancement always
equals more fees and taxes. in a sputtering local economy, that is the last
thing we need. more taxes inevitably reduce jobs, cut profits and result in a
worse economic situation.
to have more effective government, we need to have detailed data on the
specific "outcomes" the city is purchasing; the newsom admninistration should be
courageously prepared to eliminate the least-necessary outcomes from our
purchasing list; for those outcomes deemed necessary, we shd determine the amount of
that service we need, and then identify "best practices" that wd allow the
outcomes to be bought at the best possible price. if there is insufficient
money, we have to be prepared to again cut the lowest-priority outcomes.
this wd change the way the city operates, injecting competition and
results-oriented thinking into government service-delivery; ie change the business
model for the city. as part of this, the budget process should be zero-based
budgeting, instead of "last year plus x%". i have been informed that there is
already a charter amendment that requires zero-based budgeting in SF, but that in
practice, it is being ignored. this would be a good place to start.
part of this eventual process cd include farming out (outsourcing) many
functions easily contracted out, and now being performed inefficiently by our
government. many cities, such as indianopolis, philadelphia etc have done this and
cut government spending by 30%, with an increase in services provided. fiscal
necessity proved to be the impetus for change.
we can do it too.
for more data on how this can be realistically accomplished, see "Reinventing
Government - How the Enrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public
Sector", by David Osborne and Ted Gabler. it provides recent case histories,
resources, references. No less a friend of public-sector unions and nonprofits than
Bill Clinton reviewed the book and said, "Should be read by every elected
official in America. This book gives us the blueprint". There are lots of other
resources also available on this topic.
needless to say, outsourcing city functions will create many opportunitites
for the private sector and small business sector to provide needed services at
an economical price. obviously, the non-profit and public sector organizations
that have been the beneficiaries of our free-spending government practices
will oppose any change in the status quo. but the budget shortfall will provide
the needed urgency and impetus to change the way things are done around here.
Pacific Investment Properties