DiCiccio: Budget crisis exposed - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

DiCiccio: Budget crisis exposed

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Posted: Saturday, April 26, 2014 10:22 am

Phoenix took in $46 million more this year than last year, but still faces a $38 million deficit. How does that happen in a growing economy?

The politicians created the problem. The mayor and City Council took care of the government unions and themselves. The proposed budget has over $19 million in NEW pay raises, $12 million for pension spiking, more days off for union employees (currently a starting clerk gets 40.5 days off their first year), $18 million in added pension costs and, if the budget passes, the average compensation for more than 14,000 employees will be well above $107,000 per person.

Meanwhile, the proposed budget has cuts to senior centers, community centers and graffiti programs that are important to you and your family.

The government unions are pushing the mayor and council to raise the food tax, raise water rates and impose higher fees on seniors. Pushing more pay and perks for themselves and cuts and tax increases on you.

Food tax fact

You were promised the food tax would go for police and fire. We now know that wasn’t true. The food tax generated more than $150 million since it was forced onto the public and $150 million in pay raises and bonuses were doled out during that time.

Last year Phoenix passed a law banning goldfish from being awarded at the state fair, spent $650,000 to study your garbage and spent thousands to have a few poems written. At the same time, we’ve seen broken promises on pension spiking, the food tax and the first credit downgrading in Phoenix history. Yet, still no plan to add more police for our neighborhoods.

The focus must be on fiscal responsibility and it needs to be about you and the needs of your family.

The solution

Stop the pay raises, no cuts to police or their pay, cut vacant positions. Cutting pay raises saves $19 million. We have already identified $9 million in savings through deferred vehicle replacements and efficiency measures. And through a combination of cutting vacant positions and selling surplus property, Phoenix can climb out of the looming deficit.

We can balance the budget while protecting our police officers and the public.

Phoenix must get back to big ideas. Big ideas that move Phoenix forward. Ideas that keep your interests above the interests of those wanting to take advantage of our city.

• Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio represents District 6, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach him at council.district.6@phoenix.gov or (602) 262-7491.

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