Mayor Steinberg lays out next steps on Measure U spending
With the election behind us, I want to thank the people of Sacramento for approving Measure U. I want to thank my colleagues and all the community leaders who supported this effort and believed in the vision that I laid out in my State of the City address last January, and in my June 7th address, and in many other formal and informal settings over the past 10 months. We embraced a vision for Sacramento that recognized that we need more capital and more resources to build a more robust and inclusive economy. Simply put, our tax base is too narrow, and there are too many people and neighborhoods left out. It's not just my vision; we as a City made a purposeful decision to dive into an effort called Project Prosper, which engaged hundreds of people in our community and drew the same conclusions.
The campaign itself was vigorous but also a great challenge. It was especially challenging because Measure U was a general tax, and by law we could not be specific about an expenditure plan.
Now that Measure U is passed, I want to assure the public on two key points.
1. With the support of my colleagues, we will follow through on this vision. There may be good reasons to use some resources to bolster essential services and address our homeless crisis, but I will resist any efforts to use the second half cent to merely plug holes or address long-term deficits. If we had merely proposed a half cent, the pension challenge would be the same.
There is only one way out of our long-term obligations: to grow the tax base, to create and catalyze new jobs, to build more affordable housing, and to make government more efficient without hurting working people or the services we provide. That ultimately will allow us to increase the public safety resources that people rightfully expect.
2. We will have a process to define and fund transformative projects that includes not only the Council but also our entire community. The Council has already established a 15-member Advisory Commission.
The week of November 20, after consulting with my colleagues, I intend to propose a timeline and a series of action steps, including necessary Council actions, and the establishment of an Investment Committee, the appointment of public members to both the Advisory Commission and the Investment Committee, and extensive community input.
This is all intended to lead to the first set of investment decisions as part of next May's city budget.
We need to do this in late November because there is a lot of expectation and a lot of people are rightfully asking questions about how this is going to work. We want to lay the answer out with your input in the next two weeks.
No matter how challenging our future decisions on Measure U may be -- and I expect robust debate -- this is a great problem to have.
Again I'm very grateful to the majority of people in Sacramento for saying yes. And for those who voted no, it's our responsibility to be accountable and to show you that we meant what we said and we're going to follow through.