Monday, March 16, 2009

Why we need transparency, and what the REAL budget numbers are!

As I have been reporting, the Mayor has not been honest nor transparent about the budget numbers. Despite him saying he would be transparent about the budget he has not, and both Lisa Signori and the Mayor's office refused to answer my simple questions about how much money we had on hand, and how much we owe, and what the rates of return are on both amounts. When they wouldn't answer my public records request, I complained to the Secretary of State's office and then finally at the end of last week I received a 100 page pdf of financial statements. I and my staff have not had time to go through it completely yet, but here is one key number that pops out: CASH ON HAND!

At the end of February, 2009, the City of Boston had $929,254,000 cash on hand. This is $119 million more than we had at the end of October, and $102 million more than we had at the same time last year. Clearly the City is not lacking for money, as I have been saying all along. The budget process is very important, and needs to be handled carefully, but using threatening tactics as the Mayor has, setting false deadlines, and withholding money are not the way to run a government.

As I have been saying: the Mayor has hired 1200 workers in the last 5 years, 200 are police officers and 100 are teachers. There is no reason to lay any police officers or teachers off until we examine what those other 900 positions are.

If anyone, especially the unions who are in contract negotiations would like to get a copy of this PDF, please send us an email at, and we will be happy to forward these 100 pages of financial information to you.

That is what transparent government is all about.

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