Wednesday, June 8, 2022

06/07/22 Council Announcements and Meeting including Budget Public Hearing.

by Rod Williams- Budget hearings start at timestap1:05.  First, is the Capital Improvement Budget which is actually not a budget and appropriates no money but is a prioritized wish list with sources of funding identified. Nevertheless, it is an important piece of legislation. If the public or a Council member wants a project developed, it must first be in the Capital Improvements Budget. 

Following the CIB there is the hearing on the operating budget. The budget proposal for $2.97 billion is a no-tax-increase budget but is an increase of 12.1% in spending over the current year's budget. The budget reflects $319.6 million in new revenue. 

Surprise, surprise, a lot of people want Metro to spend more money. Having served in the Council and observed the Council for decades, I have observed that liberals are always active and speak out for more funding and support higher taxes while conservatives only attend the public hearings and call for austerity and cutting waste when there is a large tax increase on the table. 

No wonder local government grows bigger and bigger all of the time and at a rate of growth bigger than the population growth.  I wish there was a local equivalent of the Beacon Center, which operates at the State level, to monitor Metro government and advocate for common-sense reforms, privatization, improved efficiency, and lowering of taxes.  

All of the interest and firepower are on the liberal side of the equation. The advocates of more taxes and spending have a build-in constituency consisting of Metro employees and their families. This general constituency for bigger government then has its pressure groups such as the teachers union, the Firefighters Union, and the Fraternal Oder of Police. Then, each interest has its advocacy groups such as Friends of the Library or Friends or the Parks or a particular park, or parents groups. Also, often the Better Business Bureau and the League of Women Voters can be advocates of greater spending. Now, we have a bunch of progressive local organizations, many with ties to national organizations, pushing for more government. There is no advocacy group for cutting taxes, greater government efficiency, and cutting waste.

While conservatives often mouth platitudes quoting Thomas Jefferson, "The government closest to the people serves the people best," they don't act like they believe it. Liberals make things happen at the local level and ensure that we continue to waste local money and always ask for more;conservatives stay home.

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