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Old 12-07-2011, 07:44 PM
 
4,690 posts, read 1,750,751 times
Reputation: 1569
How is this not an end run on the anti-windfall laws? It's not that I mind the county levy, which is after all not all that significant and will probably be spent on generally useful things. It's the precedent it sets - get the rise in now, avoid the post-reassessment limits. So far it appears that, apart from Peters, few municipalities have followed suit - but what about the school districts? There's the rub.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:52 PM
 
3,319 posts, read 1,816,202 times
Reputation: 1784
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianTH View Post
Dollars, please. How much exactly are we talking about with these ideas?
Eliminating many small dollar things adds up to quite a bit of money after awhile. Will disallowing city officials from taking home city vehicles unless integral to their job or eliminating their reduced parking fees itself close the budget gap? of course not, but such easy to eliminate things are an excellent start.

Unfortunately its hard to pinpoint exactly where money can be saved in each department looking at the budget numbers because the budget only has wideranging categories within each department, i.e. Personnel, Fringe Benefits, Services, Supplies, etc. which don't mean much themselves without knowing the specifics expenditures under those headings.
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Old 12-07-2011, 08:53 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,305,310 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squarian View Post
but what about the school districts? There's the rub.
I think they are still limited to the Act 1 index number. The County can (arguably) do this because its increases aren't limited outside of the anti-windfall context.
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:07 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,305,310 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UKyank View Post
Eliminating many small dollar things adds up to quite a bit of money after awhile.
$50-60 million a year? That takes a lot of small dollar things, or some not so small dollar things.

Quote:
of course not, but such easy to eliminate things are an excellent start.
As an aside, that depends. People are typically willing to trade off some cash compensation for perks. When contemplating eliminating perks, you have to account for how much more in cash compensation you would be doling out, and in many cases there are relevant tax breaks for the employer associated with perks you also need to account for.

I'm not saying there is no money to be saved in this way--I have no idea. But I do think people need to be offering up real numbers, not just concepts.

Quote:
Unfortunately its hard to pinpoint exactly where money can be saved in each department looking at the budget numbers because the budget only has wideranging categories within each department, i.e. Personnel, Fringe Benefits, Services, Supplies, etc. which don't mean much themselves without knowing the specifics expenditures under those headings.
Sure, but you are running into problems everyone faces, including those in charge of the budget. It is easy to hypothesize a certain percentage of your budget is unnecessary. It is much harder to figure out exactly how to cut only that spending, and not a bunch of necessary spending along with it.

And in fact elected officials already have plenty of incentive not to allow a lot of unnecessary spending--it is good politics to offer more services and/or lower taxes to your voters. So if there was any easy savings to be had that added up to significant amounts, they very likely took those savings already. And conversely, to the extent there are people deliberately hiding unnecessary spending from you for their own purposes, they are very likely to keep using those techniques to shift budget cuts to necessary spending.

In short, we should always be pushing our elected officials to eliminate wasteful spending. But that is much easier said than done, and there is no reason to believe that funding cuts makes it any easier.
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:30 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
10,754 posts, read 6,703,064 times
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$50-60 million a year? That takes a lot of small dollar things, or some not so small dollar things.

Yeah and your point is?

In short, we should always be pushing our elected officials to eliminate wasteful spending. But that is much easier said than done, and there is no reason to believe that funding cuts makes it any easier.

How do you know it is easier said than done? The corruption needs to stop and tax increases need to stop. What happened to your drink tax Brian? Do you remember this: Council had passed a 10 percent drink tax and a $2-a-day car-rental levy in 2007 to provide a reliable source of funds for mass transit services. The two taxes raise local matching funds to help finance the Port Authority's bus and light-rail system.


What about the city wage tax? That alone is enough for you and I to live outside city limits. Now the county is reassessing AND raising its millage rates 22% at the same time, but YOU are thinking this is great? How about cutting the waste. If the county can't afford the services promised, they need to provide less and promise less to employees which would include pensions. People can't keep paying more and more tax. Just in the past few years we have a drink tax, higher millage and a new assessment coming that will no doubt crush many. Oh yeah, your "windfall" argument. Where is the windfall in the drink tax, or the next NEW tax they come up with because we can't afford what we are putting out? Pittsburgh is supposed to be doing better, but I don't think it is. What about the cost of the tunnel to nowhere? Even if you liked that idea, we CAN'T afford it! Compared to Philly we are so overtaxed it is a joke. Why is that?
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:33 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
10,754 posts, read 6,703,064 times
Reputation: 3124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geeo View Post
Saw in the PG this morning that Peters will be raising their school taxes as well.
This won't stop anywhere in our region because the super high salaries of the teachers, which might be sustainable today, but it won't be as all the long term pensions are running off the current salary structure. The area is in for VERY hard times within 10-20 years. Get ready for mass school consolidations and 50 plus students per classroom. It is going to be one ugly situation.
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Old 12-08-2011, 05:37 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
10,754 posts, read 6,703,064 times
Reputation: 3124
Quote:
Originally Posted by squarian View Post
How is this not an end run on the anti-windfall laws? There's the rub.
All this windfall thing will be some joke. Even if there is some adjustment due to "windfall", they will come up with a new tax, like the drink tax. Maybe a new wage tax hike is in order for city residents. Oh wait, maybe the county will get in on that and if you live in Allegheny County you will need to pony up another 1%! I am surprised that isn't being talked about as I write this. Maybe it is?
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:53 AM
 
Location: ɥbɹnqsʇʇıd
4,188 posts, read 2,714,657 times
Reputation: 2899
Unfortunately coming up with sources of government waste that need to be cut isn't a easily researched topic unless you're working for the government itself. It's not like these guys are flaunting their perks to the media or anything. This is why I wish the people would have the opportunity to have a public, independent audit of the government like they have the ability to audit us any time they want. Of course, this is not how our government works despite the fact that we have things like the GAO in place.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
10,754 posts, read 6,703,064 times
Reputation: 3124
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Teen Carl View Post
Unfortunately coming up with sources of government waste that need to be cut isn't a easily researched topic unless you're working for the government itself. It's not like these guys are flaunting their perks to the media or anything. This is why I wish the people would have the opportunity to have a public, independent audit of the government like they have the ability to audit us any time they want. Of course, this is not how our government works despite the fact that we have things like the GAO in place.
All you need to do is follow around any county employee. I remember a news channel doing that decades ago. Just followed an employee driving around doing nothing all day because the employee was "connected". Look at that bunch that is working on Rt. 28 and compare that kind of work to PennDot. That is just normal stuff that goes on throughout government. What about the hidden war costs in Iraq that isn't counted in the military budget. It goes from tiny government all the way to the top. Waste from top to bottom. One big joke. All they need to do is raise taxes are create new ones to pay for the fat cats that are roaming around pretending to work. As I travel abroad, you should see the homes Ambassadors live in. Million dollar mansions and they work one day a week! What a joke. Local government is just as bad on a smaller scale. How do you research it? You can't, but you can just watch and see with your own eyes. Any kind of work that has no competition is like that. Look at when the water company goes out on a job. 10 shovel leaners and one guy digging with a machine. What can anyone do? Not drink water? Not have a government? Let roads go down the tubes. Oh that is already the case.

The only question that remains is what is the next new tax. It has been since '07 since the drink tax. What is next? Oh, I forgot about the rental car tax. There are probably more new ones that I forgot since they seem to just keep coming. How do you stop it? Then you have people like Brian roaming around thinking this style of government is okay. Lets throw more money at all this. It will improve. Really?
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:06 AM
 
Location: Wilkinsburg
1,661 posts, read 1,158,272 times
Reputation: 952
So despite all the pissing and moaning, no one has been able to find even $1M in cuts from the county budget?
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