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Sanctuary Cities Revisit City Budgets Before Trump Takes Office

Sanctuary Cities Revisit City Budgets Before Trump Takes Office

San Francisco and New York City facing loss of billions in federal dollars

The nation’s largest sanctuary cities, San Francisco and New York City, are busily revisiting their budgets in anticipation of President-elect Trump taking office and making good on his pledge to slash federal monies sanctuary cities currently receive.

From the federal government, San Francisco gets a billion dollars each year, and New York City gets approximately $7 billion each year.   For some perspective, NYC receives more money from the federal government than the state budgets for Delaware ($4.1 billion), Mississippi ($6.4 billion), New Hampshire ($5.7 billion), Oklahoma ($6.8 billion), South Dakota ($4.5 billion), and Vermont ($5.8 billion).

San Francisco is struggling with budget-related problems already, and with Trump’s threat of withdrawing up to a billion federal tax dollars, the city is anticipating further budget issues.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

It seems like San Francisco — the center of the nation’s tech boom and the strong economy and tax revenues that come with it — went overnight from being flush to having serious financial constraints.

The combination of a ballot measure to increase the sales tax that failed, threatened federal cuts from President-elect Donald Trump and a projected $5 billion pension shortfall means City Hall officials are now considering actions that would have seemed unthinkable just three weeks ago.

Among them: redirecting new revenue generated by the just-passed soda tax from health programs to homeless services, ending the Twitter tax break that was designed to draw tech companies to the city, annulling a voter-approved charter amendment to pay for street tree maintenance and not spending the money to make City College free.

Watch San Francisco’s mayor pledge to defy Trump:

The SF Chronicle reports on three main reasons for the budget problems, including—believe it or not—that the budget was passed based on a sales tax increase they assumed would pass (but didn’t).

Three main factors have led to the rapid reassessment of the city’s finances.

•The loss of Proposition K, a proposed three-quarter-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot that would have generated around $100 million annually for transportation projects plus another $50 million for homeless services. The supervisors and mayor passed the budget on the assumption that Prop. K would pass.

•Trump’s unexpected victory. The president-elect has vowed to cut all federal funding to any city with a sanctuary policy of not aiding immigration agents. San Francisco receives about about [sic] $1 billion each year from the federal government. While the loss of all that money is unlikely — most cuts would require congressional action — city officials are nevertheless preparing for the worst.

•A looming $5 billion pension shortfall, driven by pension increases, longer life expectancy and lower-than-expected returns on stock market investments. Also, a 2011 voter-approved measure that would have rolled back pension increases for thousands of city employees and retirees was struck down by a state court of appeal in 2015. And in September, the city controller sued the city’s retirement board for approving pension increases, saying the action violated the 2011 ballot measure and would cost the city more than $200 million over the next five years.

These budget woes pale in comparison to those facing New York City should President-elect Trump follow through and cut off funding to sanctuary cities.

New York City under its hapless socialist mayor is experiencing skyrocketing homeless rates, out-sized and underperforming pensions, and astronomical spending on social programs.

Add to that the expected loss of some chunk of the $7 billion dollars the federal government sends to NYC, and the budget situation becomes even more dire.

The New York Times reports:

Officials are conducting an urgent review of the billions of dollars that New York City receives each year from the federal government to identify the streams of money that may be most at risk once President-elect Donald J. Trump takes office.

Mr. Trump, a Republican, has threatened to punish cities that defy his efforts to deport undocumented immigrants, and there is also concern that the Republican-controlled Congress may seek to slash longstanding aid programs.

“There’s urgency because the threat seems greater than it’s been,” said Tony Shorris, the first deputy mayor, referring to the effort to identify which programs may be most at risk. “There’s also uncertainty because the lack of clarity is much greater than it’s been.”

Mr. Trump has said he will cut financing to so-called sanctuary cities that move to protect undocumented immigrants or refuse to cooperate with federal deportation efforts.

San Francisco and New York City are not the only sanctuary cities defiantly insisting they will continue to ignore federal law.  Sante Fe and Chicago are also facing potential federal dollar losses in the millions.

CNN reports:

Santa Fe stands to lose about $6 million in federal funding, or about 2% of its annual budget, city officials said.

Nevertheless, Mayor Javier Gonzales has pledged to stand by his city’s sanctuary status.

. . . at least until the loss of federal dollars makes him rethink that position:

CNN continues:

. . . .  Days after Trump’s election, Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a press release there was “a sense of uncertainty among many immigrant communities in Chicago and across the nation.”

He reiterated that Chicago would remain a sanctuary city and said the city’s 311 operators had been given special training to answer people’s questions. “Chicago has been a city of immigrants since it was founded. We have always welcomed people of all faiths and backgrounds, and while the administration will change, our values and our commitment to inclusion will not,” he said.

Chicago could lose up to $29 million in annual justice grants alone; Chicago stands to lose more than $1 billion.  Chicago’s mayor, however, is not revisiting his budget; he does not believe that Trump will follow through on his promise to defund sanctuary cities.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“I don’t believe they’ll do it, because that would mean every major city in the United States would be targeted, and that’s not what an administration will do,” Emanuel said after a City Council meeting.

“When you’re in the White House, it is incoming,” said Emanuel, who worked in the Clinton and Obama administrations. “When they look at all the things they want to get done and all the battles that will be coming — whether the battles they initiate and the ones that come to them — they will make a choice that this is not the battle they want to take on because they have bigger fish to fry, mark my words.”

Trump has pledged to deport millions of immigrants living in the country illegally. The Justice Department released a memo in May saying Chicago could stand to lose nearly $29 million in annual justice grants if found to be in violation of federal laws on detaining people to be turned over for possible deportation. On Wednesday, the mayor declined to say what he would do if Trump takes away that money, calling it a hypothetical that wouldn’t happen.

Meanwhile, Governor Abbott in Texas is taking on sanctuary cities at the state level, and Senators Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) have sponsored legislation aimed at defunding sanctuary cities and stopping illegal reentry (Kate’s Law).


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Henry Hawkins | December 3, 2016 at 3:45 pm

Fuzzy… have you a sense about Emanuel’s certainty that the Trump admin won’t go through with it? Somebody’s bluffing. I suspect it’s Emanuel.

    herm2416 in reply to Henry Hawkins. | December 3, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    If you are in my country illegally…there should be NO justice. What the heck is a justice grant? Where is the justice for Americans paying their taxes, only to be given to people who broke the law with their very first step across our border?

      Henry Hawkins in reply to herm2416. | December 3, 2016 at 5:51 pm

      A ‘justice grant’ is a wonderful example of a euphemism at its seediest.

      A “Justice Grant” can mean a whole bunch of different things, depending on what the “Grant” is for and what it is funding.

      Most of the big ones are for the following types of services:

      – Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) – funds local policing programs, officer hires, training and “innovative policing strategies” (usually catch-and-release).

      – Office of Justice Programs – provides training on pressing crime related issues. Kind of vague.

      – Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Grants – THIS is a big one. Basically the cities that are good at getting this grant are using it to fund Protective Orders, Family Violence Assault (AFV) prosecutions and Protective Order violations (VPO). The cities that use this are mostly using it as a slush-fund to pay for extra staff. It creates perverse incentives for the local District Attorneys to force any and all AFV and VPO cases into trial regardless of how poor the cases are and then to refuse to negotiate at all on them unless they get a “conviction” out of it, because the applicant city gets funding based on the number of “convictions” they get.

      – the AFV convictions have a double-bump to the Progressives: they also forever restrict the ability of the person convicted from possessing a firearm (because there is no way short of a Pardon from the State Governor to restore the firearm rights from the FEDERAL perspective, regardless of what the STATE does).

      Long and short – most of the cities use the “Justice Grants” as slush-funds to cover the functions that they would otherwise have to pay for themselves. That frees up the funds that they would otherwise have to allocate to be used for pet projects, graft or otherwise usually discretionary use without having to raise “taxes” locally.

    I think he believes it, Henry. Twinkle Toes was in the White House and knows how things work on the hill; he really doesn’t believe that Trump will be willing to expend the political capital to defund sanctuary cities. He’s counting on Trump being more interested in jobs and the economy and health care (though we know those are all related to illegals and immigration, pols tend to think in compartments, as if immigration is unrelated to jobs, the economy, or heath care). And Congress can certainly defund the nation’s sanctuary cities in a single sentence, particularly with GOP majorities in both House, and Trump seems sincere enough to sign whatever they put in front of him (though that may be part of his “art of the deal” bluster; we’ll know soon enough).

      He (Rahm) is bluffing. Trump will end funding to sanctuary cities and I suspect Rahm knows this. So, what else can he do?

        Revist his city’s budget to get ahead of the problem before it happens as even dim bulb de Blasio is doing? Rahm may be doing this already, but it’s not being reported. Once it is, I’ll believe he’s bluffing.

        Henry Hawkins in reply to Barry. | December 3, 2016 at 5:45 pm

        That makes sense to me, that regardless of what Trump does or doesn’t do, there’s not much else Emanuel can do/say.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | December 3, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      My overarching concern on this, and for all Trump initiatives is that, yes, both the House and Senate are in control of the GOP… er, no, in control of the GOPe, of whom Trump has been harshly critical throughout the campaign. History tells us that their is nothing the weak-kneed milquetoast GOPe cannot screw up. Or sabotage.

Reagan fired the air traffic controllers who belonged to PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization), a union that supported Reagan for president. If Rahm Emmanuel, whose city (Chicago) and state (Illinois) went for Hillary, thinks Trump is bluffing, he’s got another thing coming.

Sanctuary cities are lawless cities. People can come here to work legally, and they must not overstay Visas. If the law is followed, big cities will have their lawns cut, houses cleaned, and other jobs performed, plus our country will be more secure. Letting people jump in line ahead of law abiding people, and then letting them have children to add to tax burdens while sheltering them is just insane.

    Milhouse in reply to jmlsmb. | December 3, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    No, sanctuary cities are not lawless, they are simply exercising their tenth amendment right not to cooperate with federal law enforcement. The feds are free to enforce their own laws. They’re no different from the cities and states that refused to enforce prohibition, or the fugitive slave laws, or the sheriffs who successfully sued for the right not to enforce the Brady Act.

      Barry in reply to Milhouse. | December 4, 2016 at 11:30 am

      “No, sanctuary cities are not lawless,… They’re no different from the cities and states that refused to enforce prohibition…”

      So, according to you, if you break the law, one codified in the constitution, you are not “lawless”.

      But talking loudly on a train is a grave offense.
      Your views are really, really screwed up.

        Milhouse in reply to Barry. | December 5, 2016 at 5:00 pm

        They are not breaking any law. No law requires them to act as federal law enforcement officials, and no law can require this of them.

Expend political capitol? What… and lose 3 votes in SF and 5 in Chicago?


    I suspect that Rahm is thinking more in terms of the Occupy/BLM/whatever loonies they can dredge up causing havoc across the nation, the LSM harping 24/7 on the ebil Republican RAAACISTS, and pressure from GOP types like Graham and McCain, but I really don’t know what he is thinking. I was just giving my sense of it because Henry asked what I thought.

      Fuzzy, you may have noticed by now, those things do not work with Trump. He rightly turns it around on them.

        Right. But we’re talking about what I think Rahm thinks, no? They all still believe in that radical leftist stuff, and they aren’t likely to learn otherwise anytime soon since they still don’t understand why Hillary lost and Trump won.

        You all set now, Barry, or do you have more nits to pick?

          Henry Hawkins in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | December 3, 2016 at 5:55 pm

          Leopards, spots, liberals.

          “You all set now, Barry, or do you have more nits to pick?”

          Yea, one more. Rahm is a very smart guy. He knows why they lost. It doesn’t mean you are wrong in your assessment, though I think you are. He also knows what boomerangs. He will have to decide where the balance is.

          Of course, he does not have control of everything and events can spin out of control.

          Rahm would be a fool to watch his city be burnt to the ground ginning up sentiment against Trump. I don’t think he is a fool.

          Oh, good topic – well done.

      alaskabob in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | December 3, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      I wonder if there is a counter to the BLM/Occupy movement out there. There has never been a militant rightist faction in the country to directly oppose the Left. This may be the time for that to arise if history is being played out again. A lot of pent up anger at the to intentional destruction of core US values. The Left will quickly rise to protest… if they stir up the right….slow to anger but ready the finish the issue…. historically. Defunding sanctuary cities would be easy …. only one state away from a secure Convention of the States to reset the USA… constitutionally…. Just a matter of who blinks first…

i asked the council office here in Lost Angels how much federal money is in the city budget.

they said ~$500 million, but i’n inclined to think it’s more than that, given how big LA is.

    Milhouse in reply to redc1c4. | December 3, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    Yes, but neither Trump nor even congress can cut it all, or even most of it. They can only cut enough to be painful but not crippling.

There’s a bit of a catch 22 situation here. Under South Dakota v Dole congress can cut these cities’ funding in order to persuade them to cooperate with immigration enforcement, but only so long as the cut is small enough that they are able to absorb it and continue their defiance. If the cut is so big that they have no choice but to give in, then it’s no longer legitimate persuasion but illegitimate coercion, and congress must continue the funding. For the best chance of success they need to keep the cuts painful but not crippling, and for the cities the pain of turning down the funding may be less than the pain they would get from their voters from complying.

    malclave in reply to Milhouse. | December 4, 2016 at 8:26 am

    So can they just gradually make the reductions over several years to avoid triggering that?

    Sort of a “death by a thousand budget cuts.”

    Barry in reply to Milhouse. | December 4, 2016 at 11:38 am

    No, that case is of zero value. It is based upon the feds meddling in an area they have no authority over, the legal drinking age, a state law.

    The feds have authority over immigration.

    The feds can, and trump will, cut their funding for violation of federal law. Perfectly legal.

    Because sanctuary cities are “lawless”.

      Milhouse in reply to Barry. | December 4, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      You are wrong. The cities are not lawless, because the tenth amendment says congress has no right to commandeer their services to enforce federal law. There is no difference between the drinking age and immigration; the principle is the same, that congress can’t dictate to the states. Prohibition and the Brady Act were both national issues and yet the tenth amendment protected states and cities that refused to participate. They can’t stop the feds from enforcing the law, but they don’t have to lift a finger to help them.

      States, on the other hand, can force cities to help the feds.

        Barry in reply to Milhouse. | December 4, 2016 at 7:20 pm

        It seems you have changed the nature of your argument. I know what the tenth says. That is not the dispute. Your citation to the decision in South Dakota v Dole is what I responded to. And there I think you are wrong.

        The federal government withholds funds for all sorts of things if the state doesn’t go along. I happen to think it is wrong, a violation of the 10th, but that is not how it is. The feds can, and will hold federal funding from sanctuary cities. South Dakota v Dole will not prevent it.

        Here is one of many articles:

          Milhouse in reply to Barry. | December 5, 2016 at 5:09 pm

          I have not changed my argument at all, you’re just too ignorant to know that it’s the same argument. South Dakota v Dole is a tenth amendment case. And it says congress can withhold money from states to persuade them to comply with its wishes, but not so much as to compel them.

          In that case the amount withheld was 5% of the grant; the court said that was small enough that the state was left with a choice whether to comply and get the whole grant, or not to comply and get only 95%. But if the cut had been so big as to leave the state no choice, then it would have been unconstitutional.

          The article you cite ignores this distinction, and also ignores the distinction between the federal government trying to get states to adopt its policies, which they don’t have to do, and to comply with actual federal law, which they absolutely do have to do.

What the cities are going to do is *exactly* what they do every time any kind of budget shortfall is predicted: They’ll line up the police, firefighters, school kids, orphans, widows, sick, elderly, homeless vets, homeless pets, and anything that will get them sympathy. Then they’ll release ads and news releases about how these horrible and terrible Republicans are going to put a sacrificial knife through the hearts of every one of them.

In the meanwhile, every one of their sacred Liberal cows will be carefully fenced off from the mayhem and grazed on the greenest tax dollars in complete silence (abetted by the media, of course)

“I don’t believe they’ll do it, because that would mean every major city in the United States would be targeted”

No, and someone from Chicago should know better.

Trump takes down San Fran hard, the rest will fall in line.