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Old 04-10-2012, 11:53 AM
Location: Florida
1,669 posts, read 2,391,256 times
Reputation: 1684


Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner proposes no tax hike in city budget | syracuse.com

I don't know the intricacies of the Mayor's city budget and don't want to pass judgement, but I am astonished by what I am reading considering the poor state of the national economy. The city is spend more money (a smaller rate of growth would be appropriate), without increased taxes (I agree, esp. in a slow economy), and increased employment.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner today proposed a $662 million city budget that increases spending 7.1 percent, requires no tax increase and even adds 21 jobs to the non-school payroll. Granted, she is pushing for increased employee contributions toward pensions and health care costs. The city’s pension bill has spiked from $2 million a decade ago to $30 million next year alone, but a one time state infusion of $21M does not help and only prolongs the agony.

To further address this challenge, the Mayor has recruited a three-person panel of experts to advise the city on financial matters. Today she named two of the three members: Bob Wilmers, chairman and CEO of M&T Bank, and Marc Shaw, senior vice chancellor of City University of New York. The Mayor announced in January that the advisory board would be chaired by former Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch. It sounds like an impressive group of members, none of whom are from CNY by the way (which may not be a bad thing).

I think there are a number of opportunities that can be taken prior to any panel, i.e. consolidation of services, privatization where possible (i.e. like airport authority security), further increase employee pension and health care contributions, etc. Another possible saving is the State assuming Medicaid spending, now mandated to localities. If I know there are looming threats to my budget (income, revenue) next year, I take appropriate action this year. I trust that this panel of "experts" will come to the same conclusion.

I hope the special interests will think of the bigger picture, i.e. the unions.

Last edited by urbanplanner; 04-10-2012 at 12:12 PM..
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