Former San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre has proposed that the city file for bankruptcy as the best way to deal with its budget deficits and ever increasing cuts in basic city services. Aguirre claims that the city could wipe out $900 million in benefits to city workers that he says were granted illegally by city council in 1996 and 2002, which were never approved by taxpayers.
The city already faces a $70 million budget deficit for the fiscal year that begins next July and is planning to slash basic services across the board. Included on the list of budget cuts are laying off 162 police officers, 60 firefighters, closing down two libraries and all but one of the municipal swimming pools. Voters recently rejected Proposition D, a proposed sales tax increase on the Nov. 2 ballot that could have eased some of the cuts.
Aguirre says that the bankruptcy process could be accomplished in as little as six months and would help the city maintain services without drastic cuts. The city council has been steadfast in its opposition to the bankruptcy option, and has instead indicated it will cut city services and honor its pension obligations.
Aguirre has asked the mayor to send his bankruptcy plan to Vince Mudd, head of the advisory group, Citizen’s Fiscal Sustainability Task Force. The group has already received the city’s proposed budget plan, which it is examining.