Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Spending caps and the lack thereof

So I have downloaded some literature on spending caps and skimmed it. I have a 17 page paper from a liberal group, a 17 page paper from a libertarian/conservative group, a possibly neutral paper that says that spending caps don’t matter and assorted other stuff. I have to wonder if instead of using the CPI and population rise/drop as the expenditure increase allowable under the spending cap, maybe we should use the average increase in income for the city for the year. It’s hard to imagine a situation where that would be negative, and its likely that revenues would be increasing by that amount, keeping the budget tending towards being in balance.

Speaking of which … no, wait, first let me say that the Mayor did veto the parking tax freeze. This after Republican State Senator Jane Orie put the freeze on Ravenstahl, cancelling their scheduled meeting. Doug Shields is inclined to support the veto (despite the fact the was 8 to 1 previously, which could easily over ride a veto), since Orie had instructed the ICA to yank other funds if the bill wasn’t vetoed (and stayed vetoed).

Speaking of balance (and the lack thereof), the ICA approved the Mayor’s budget, according to the PG. There are a few conditions, including the one the Mayor met today in vetoing the parking tax freeze bill. Because we will have around a hundred million in a savings account, about 60 million will be dedicated to capital projects. Enjoy it while its there, because that’s all that’s going to be there … maybe ever. In 2011 we go into deficit to the tune of $3 million and in 2012 we will be in deficit of $15 million. Apparently this is ok with the Mayor, the Governor and the various city overseers. Let’s be clear here, the presumptive front runner and next Mayor of Pittsburgh has written a budget with built in bankruptcy in it. You know, not having enough money to make payments into the pension fund, meet payrolls, keep pools open, salt city streets - the whole Tom Murphy thing. Maybe Chapter 9, except the state legislature won't let us. And according to that same PG article, Doug Shields is talking to colleagues about taking us out of Act 47. Luke Ravenstahl is talking about expanding city government. Although he has taken a page or two from Dr DeSantis' plan: "The mayor also plans to offer new, nonunion hires a defined contribution retirement plan instead of a pension." and "The city is considering merging its own development, planning and business inspection units."

But god knows we can't have a spendig cap, to head off deficits in 2011, because that is a standard rethuglican boilerplate plan for cities. And Mark DeSantis is the enemy.

1 comment:

Char said...

How odd that you were astute enough to pick up on the fact that " ....the presumptive front runner and next Mayor of Pittsburgh has written a budget with built in bankruptcy in it."

Because according to an AP article run in the Philly Inquirer, State Budge Secretary Michael Masch says "the budget represents a return to normal budgetary and financial packages after years of turmoil."