The Board of Supervisors will tell you when they’ve had enough, thank you very much: yesterday’s hotly-debated topic — a motion written by Board President David Chiu, allowing the Board to reject the MTA’s budget — is headed back to the full Board of Supervisors, courtesy of the Budget and Finance Committee.
The full Board voted on Tuesday, 6-5, to table the motion, which was on the Budget and Finance Committee’s agenda Wednesday. But three of those five “no” votes sit on the B&F Committee, and those three votes ensured that the Muni budget discussion will continue for at least another week, despite protestations from Supervisors Bevan Dufty and Carmen Chu.
“We don’t have to reject the entire budget to raise issues and make changes,” said Dufty, who noted that actually rejecting the budget would add $30 million to an already-staggering city budget deficit, which sits now at $140 million with the mayor due to present a budget to the Board in the next 10 days or so. “What we should be doing is engaging the MTA, who have the authority to make changes.”
There’s at least some urgency involved in the decision to continue the discussion — next Tuesday’s Board meeting is the last scheduled full Board meeting in the month of May, and hence the last full Board meeting before a 30-day window to amend the MTA budget — which was introduced to the Board on May 1 — closes. But one would think that this move, while certainly making a loud and clear statement, is ultimately an empty gesture: there aren’t seven votes on the full Board to reject the measure, with Chiu himself yesterday endorsing tabling his own motion.
So the Board doesn’t have the authority to change the MTA budget, and the Board doesn’t have the votes to reject the budget. The Supervisors do have the ability and authority to talk about it until they’re blue in the face, however — and that appears to be the path they’re choosing. Maybe Walter can craft us a fine MTA budget battle song in time for Tuesday.
We’re checking in with Board President Chiu to see what he thinks of the situation, and of the legislative monster he’s created, and will update when we hear back.