Despite strong economic growth, San Diego suffers from chronic underinvestment in basic public services and infrastructure ranging from fire protection to library services.
The region’s anti-tax fervor has led to fiscal irresponsibility on the part of local governments that neglect public services essential to the daily and long-term needs of people and businesses.
CPI’s 2005 report, The Bottom Line, revealed that San Diego is one of the most under-resourced metropolitan areas in California. Despite strong economic growth, the City of San Diego failed to collect revenue routinely raised by other cities, and cannot adequately fund basic services.
Continued failure of the City of San Diego to address its structural budget deficit was documented in CPI’s The Bottom Line —2010 Update. The data show that San Diego continued to lag behind other large cities in California in most general fund revenue sources, including property tax, sales tax, transient occupancy tax, trash fee/tax and business license fee/tax.
The City has embarked on an aggressive privatization program as its preferred method to deal with the consequences of its structural budget deficit, while staffing and services are reduced and infrastructure deteriorates.