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NOV 18- NOV 26, 2014

City Budget: Facts Shows Spending is the Problem

November 18, 2014

For those who wish to understand Mayor Paul Dyster’s proposed 2015 City Budget, there are two relatedpieces of information that should be considered.

First, as of Sept. 2014, the annual US inflation rate is 1.7 percent

Now, let’s examine the numbers from the 2014 budget (general fund) and the Mayor's proposed 2015proposal:

Spending (general fund)

$82,884,936. 2014

$87,295,970. 2015 proposal

The proposed budget contains new spending at a rate of over five percent for 2015's general fund.

This rate represents a spending increase nearly three times, (300 percent) the rate of inflation.

For all the claims that the proposed tax hike is the product of a need to pay for past problems,isolating 2015 general fund spending shows that future spending will increase at a rate far beyondinflation. Planned spending in the General Fund will increase over $4.4 million in 2015.

These additional expenditures-- are more than three times greater than the size of the proposed taxincrease.

Put another way:

If next year’s spending were controlled to increase by $3.1 million (about 3.7 percent -- still more thantwice the rate of inflation) there remains no need for a tax increase.

A three percent, 2015 general fund spending increase would have resulted in a general fund disbursal ofabout $85.4 million -- about $2.6 million higher than 2014.

At about that rate, the tax levy could have been stabilized with zero tax increase and the structuraldeficit could have been modestly cut (instead of increased by 11 percent).

The driving force behind layoffs and tax hikes now becomes obvious.

Poorly hidden, this budget contains a large election year spending increase.

Again, this increase is not being paid for in 2015. The tax hike, plus the job cuts, plus the increasedfund balance usage equals less than 100 percent of the spending hike.

In other words, expect bigger structural problems in the future

It's still just math and logic.

New spending = approx $4.4 million

New tax levy: +. $1.3. M

Structural issue: (Take from the fund balance $4.9 million) +$500,000 (as compared to last year.)

Job cuts: 17 (x $75,000 estimate includes benefits). $1,275,000

In other words, new taxes PLUS increased use of fund balance, PLUS savings from job cuts Equals less than$3.1 million!

That PLUS another $1.3 million (a doubling of the tax hike) would equal $4.4 million (i.e. the newSpending)

What is driving the tax hikes and job cuts?

New Spending. Period.

Is government spending always bad? No, sometimes it's necessary.

Are pay hikes for public employees bad? I don't think so, I've been a public employee much of my adultlife.

So. What's the point?

Be honest about it all. Don't tell us the pain is needed to pay for past problems when the pain in 2015equals less than the new spending in 2015.

Next year’s "pain quotient" of tax hike, plus job cuts, plus growth of structural deficit, is not goingtoward past mistakes. It is an attempt to deflect attention in the increased new spending.

The bottom line, it is outweighed by new spending.

The people being hurt are not in a "shared pain" situation; the new spending is going someplace.

In a city election year, it would appear some elected officials become the prime beneficiaries of new,spending

The irony is this - whoever gets elected in 2015 is left a significant mess to clean up starting in 2016.





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