Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Spinning the Budget -- Part 2 of Series

Unfortunately the Ballard Administration decided to spin the budget rather than lay it out in totally accurate and complete terms. They did this by emphasising some attributes of the budget and not mentioning, unless asked, about other equally important attributes. This has led to widespread media dissemination of an erroneous conclusion - that Mayor Ballard had to struggle to balance this budget and had to make some tough cuts because of cutbacks in revenue. There is also the continuing PR campaign to pretend that between $700,000 and $1.4 Million in salary cuts in the Parks budget does not mean there will be layoffs. That's just poppycock.

The revenues for 2010 are 5.5% higher than for the 2009 budget. There is an increase of $27 million from taxes alone - AFTER subtracting the loss due to the property tax caps.

If you look at expenses, the 2010 budget calls for spending 2% more than was spent in the 2009 budget. The difference between what the City-County will take in and what it spends in 2010 will be squirrelled away in the year end fund balances and not spent.

Now, that's not a bad thing, is it? So, why has the Ballard Administration gone through this exercise of spinning the budget? Could it be to hide the fact that they were not forced by the economy to cut budgets and lay off employees?

I find I am not good at reading minds, so I'll just state it outright: Mayor Ballard was not forced by the economy to cut the Parks and Telecom & Video Services Agency budgets so much that employees will be laid off. It was a choice he freely made. He could have arranged a budget that was frugal but saved all these jobs. He decided he would rather get rid of these employees.

No comments: