“The hand we were dealt”

Robyn Doolittle covers the proposed user fee increases in this year’s budget — none of which seem overly controversial — and closes was this quote from the deputy mayor:

Deputy mayor Doug Holyday said he’s not happy with the fee hikes, but they may be inevitable.

“We’re trying to not put additional costs on taxpayers, but it may take a year or two or three to get things under control. We’re playing the hand we were dealt.”

via User fee hikes could raise cost of fun and fidelity – thestar.com.

Very disingenuous. The hand they were dealt was a good one: surplus money. The city essentially could take one of two paths. The first would be to plow most of the surplus into reserves and debt payments, then raising fees/taxes and finding efficiencies — and making some cuts — to fill this year’s budget hole. The second would be more pragmatic: using some of the surplus to balance this year’s operating budget but still adding to reserves and debt payment. Both strategies assume a small property tax increase for 2011.

The Ford administration took the bizarre third path, freezing property taxes (which is essentially a cut), throwing the entire surplus at this year’s operating budget and then raising a bunch of user fees and cutting services to make things balance.


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