TAMPA — Like the rest of the state and nation, Tampa faces hard times, Mayor Pam Iorio said Monday in her annual State of the City address.
"We are facing a severe budget challenge," she said. "There have been recessions before, but this is different."
The scale, scope and global effect make it difficult to resolve, she said.
Iorio, who is in her final term as mayor and is considering seeking a Senate seat in 2010, told hundreds of city employees that President Barack Obama is doing what he can to turn the nation's economy around and that Florida lawmakers need to look at tax policy and over-reliance on development to feed the state coffers.
"Florida does not have a stable source of revenue," Iorio said.
The solution to local economic woes, she said, is light rail because it will create jobs and promote smart growth.
Iorio said she hoped by the end of the year Hillsborough County commissioners would approve putting a referendum on a sales tax to help pay for a line from the University of South Florida to the airport on the 2010 ballot.
Despite the grim message about the economy, Iorio noted that Tampa continues to thrive, with a dropping crime rate, museums opening and installation of new water, wastewater and stormwater pipes.
"We continue to invest, even in a time of a severe economic downturn," she said.
Janet Zink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3401.