Only five members of the Board of Supervisors today voted to reject the SFMTA budget, two short of the supermajority of seven needed to reject it.
The supermajority requirement was put in the City Charter by Proposition A and Proposition E (both in part crafted by SPUR) to create a balance between the need to defend the SFMTA from political influence and give the city's elected leaders a chance to reject the budget if it seriously misrepresents their values.
In the current budget debate, where the Supervisors were asked to approve a replacement 2009-2010 budget to deal with $129 million in cuts (fully 1/6 of the budget), it is no surprise the Supervisors came closer to rejecting the budget than they ever have since Proposition E passed. SPUR initially supported the motion to reject the budget. Some changes since that time improved the budget and SPUR sat out the debate during the second round.
Cutting 1/6 of the budget was bound to be unpopular. While SPUR doesn't agree with every aspect of the SFMTA budget (what independent government watchdog would?), we do credit SFMTA executive director Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr. and his team for proposing a budget that avoided the worst possible cuts. We will work with the SFMTA as they continue to adjust their budget and prepare for the 2010-12 budget proposal.
Click here for SPUR's proposals for an improved SFMTA budget.