SF supervisors seek ways to ease brutal budget battles

Supervisor Malia Cohen speaks during a news conference announcing that San Francisco backers of a tax on sugary beverages have enough signatures to put the measure on the November ballot ouside of City Hall in San Francisco, Thursday, May 12, 2016. This would be San Francisco's second attempt in two years trying to put a tax on the highly caloric drinks that some public health advocates say contributes to obesity. A 2014 attempt failed to garner the two-thirds approval needed for a dedicated tax. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) Photo: Jeff Chiu, Associated Press

After slogging through the reliably disjointed and bruising business of passing San Francisco’s multibillion dollar budget this year, city officials have begun to explore ways to reduce the political friction inherent in the annual process of deciding the city’s finances.

Supervisor Malia Cohen last week directed the city’s Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office to survey how other municipalities decide on their budgets, with the goal of finding ways to improve San Francisco’s process, including making it more transparent.

Cohen was motivated largely by an eagerness to avoid repeating a particularly grueling round of negotiations this year surrounding a pot of so-called “add-back” money — funds the city’s supervisors spend in their own districts.

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