The elephant in the room in the city of San Diego’s special mayoral election is the ongoing structural deficit caused by an $8 billion underfunded pension system.
The city’s annual general fund budget is approximately $1.1 billion. This pays for everything from police to libraries.
This year’s payment to the pension system for 17,000 retirees is $275 million, of which $50 million goes to principal and $225 million is lost to interest.
By contrast, the city is only spending $236 million on its fire department, which is responsible for the safety of more than 1.2 million San Diego residents. Only $55 million is budgeted to repair and maintain our roads, far less than is needed.
Unless the new mayor has a plan to deal with the structural deficit, it will be impossible to keep any campaign promise to get the city back on financial track.