SAN DIEGO, CA (July 15, 2021) — Haney Hong, president & CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, released the following statement today on the City of San Diego Environment Committee discussions on additional taxes or fees for stormwater infrastructure:
“While we appreciate the city of San Diego’s existing need for financial resources to maintain stormwater infrastructure and the staff’s hard work in developing potential options, we must acknowledge that it is chronic underfunding through annual budget processes that have led to our problems today. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to shoulder that burden by paying more.
“We also cannot forget the region’s economy has yet to bounce back from the challenges of COVID.
The Association opposes new taxes or fees while economic indicators and employment remain below pre-COVID levels. Higher fees add friction for a recovering economy, and the city might consider following the example of the County of San Diego supervisors, who have actually reduced or waived some of their fees as not to complicate our recovery from COVID.
“This year’s approved budget repeated the past: chronic underfunding on stormwater needs. The city’s challenge is not having enough money; it’s how they spend it. For example, the rent relief program monies sit without enough applicants, and our leadership used one-time Federal stimulus dollars to give city employees a pay raise when many taxpayers are still out of work. Ask yourself: could any of that have gone to stormwater infrastructure?
“We expect our leaders to make some tough choices and put their money where their mouth is before asking for more. Taxpayers deserve better.”