The Sacramento City Council is poised to approve a $1.2 billion budget proposal for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. It includes Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s proposal to spend a $16 million budget surplus.
On June 4, the council’s budget committee (which includes all nine councilmembers) voted 8-1 to approve the budget proposal and schedule it for a final vote tonight. Councilmember Jeff Harris from District 3 was the only vote against.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg joins Insight to talk about the city’s spending priorities.
You can attend or watch the Sacramento City Council Hearing on June 11, starting at 5 p.m.
On this year's budget
This year's budget was really interesting. Usually the budget is a rather dull affair. Few people come to the city council chambers. Not that it's pro forma. It's always really important but it doesn't attract a lot of public attention. Not this year. Because last November, I led a campaign to not only extend the half-cent sales tax in Sacramento, Measure U, but to add a half-cent, and I campaigned saying that if we get this second half-cent, I want to ensure that most of it is invested in what I call inclusive economic development, in job creation, in youth, in affordable housing, in revitalizing our blighted commercial corridors in our neighborhoods.
On opposition to his plan
Here’s the debate in Sacramento. What I said was, that if we use the second half-cent different than what I promised as mayor, to fund the basic city services, the cost of increased pensions and the cost of increased salaries — by the way, obligations that we will always uphold because we respect the men and women that work for the city, especially those who are on the front lines around public safety — that the $50 million which represents the second half-cent would literally be gone in three years. And so I said, we must set aside at least $40 million of that $50 million over five years to ensure that we've got an economic development equity fund to be able to invest in housing, in our neighborhoods, in job creation, in our young people. And that was the outline of the debate. And I'm pleased to say that the strong majority of this city council backed this vision.
On tonight's budget vote
Tonight will be a very important vote. And I don't want to overstate it, but in some way a historic vote, because it represents a shift in direction around what defines the core obligation of our city. It includes investing in neighborhoods and its people.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to listen to the entire interview.