We’ve entered a recession, and don't know yet how bad it will be. To get some perspective, I talk today with Bob Leland, an expert on municipal finance with the Management Partners consulting firm who began his career in the 1970s. He compares the current downturn to the Great Recession 12 years ago, lists some possible responses, and estimates the size of the revenue loss facing Davis – “it’ll probably be about a 6 to 8 percent loss for the year that will be ending June 30,” with the financial damage concentrated in the last few months.
Read that carefully—the plunge since March has been steep enough to take the results for the entire fiscal year down by 6 percent or more.
Bob, who lives in Davis, advised the city a few years ago on the course of its finances. He helped create a long-range budget model for the city, and says Davis was doing a good job leading up to the pandemic. We also look ahead to the November 2020 ballot measure that would undo parts of Proposition 13, the 1978 voter initiative that curtailed property taxes in California. As a staff consultant to the state Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee, he worked on the team that helped to implement it.