Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Press release about the City Budget process:

Contact: Antionetta Kelley FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cell Phone 617-267-2453 June 23, 2009
E-Mail: electkevin@gmail.com

***CITY BUDGET PROCESS IS FLAWED***

The City Council is scheduled to vote on the Fiscal Year 2010 City Budget tomorrow. But they are voting on it in the blind, not knowing what the actual financial condition of the City is. The Mayor has promised to be transparent about the budget process, but in actuality has been keeping the figures away from the public. As part of his Total Transparency Project, Kevin McCrea vows as Mayor to make all of our City finances available online. Says McCrea, “The citizens and the City Councilors deserve transparency and should have access to all pertinent City financial information. Without that information, we can not make informed decisions about where to spend our money.”

The most recent Cash on Hand balances available from the City are only through the end of February! Furthermore, the balance sheet shows over $929,000,000 dollars on hand which is more than 100 million dollars more than the City had on hand at the same time a year ago, and more than a 100 million dollars more than we had just last October. So, according to the most recent information available from the City there does not appear to be a calamitous budget crisis. McCrea notes: “I have been writing and saying since January that the budget issue is not anywhere near as bad as the Mayor has painted it to be. Running a city based on scare tactics is no way to conduct business. When I am Mayor we will have a transparent process that the councilors and the public have access to so that they can weigh in on the process. I am disappointed Councilors Yoon and Flaherty who should have strong knowledge of the budget have not been letting the public know that things are not as bad as the Mayor makes them out to be.”

McCrea has contacted City Councilors and the Mayor’s people to try and get updated numbers and none are available. For example, the City received 22.5 million dollars in Federal Stimulus dollars for public safety in May, and McCrea asked the Mayor’s people and City Council staff where that fit into the budget picture and has been met with either no reply, or an honest “I don’t know.”

As the following chart shows, since Menino has made his big push for the Meals Tax since 2004, the City Budget people have played games with the numbers at Fiscal Year budget time. For Menino’s entire last term he has underrepresented how much money the City would have available, while still raising expenses between 4 and 6.4% a year: twice the rate of inflation. Residential property taxes have averaged a 7% increase a year over the last 10 years. McCrea says: “We need fiscal honesty now.”

Year------Projected Deficit-----------Surplus (in Millions of dollars)
2004 ----------- 0-----------------------5
2005 -----------52-----------------------8
2006 -----------32----------------------14
2007 -----------23----------------------15
2008 ------------4----------------------16

1 comment:

shirley kressel said...

I've asked Flaherty on BlueMassGroup if he has filed to eliminate that $70,000 position they created for a 13th City Council staff so they could hire Walkowski. He never answered, although his information minister keeps posting his campaign literature and offering to answer questions.

By the way, you should note that Flaherty and the rest of the City Council were under court injunction not to violate the Open Meeting Law at the time they held this unlawful meeting to pre-arrange a vote to over-pay an existing employee to figure out HOW TO EXEMPT THE CITY COUNCIL FROM THE OPEN MEETING LAW. It's incredible.

He never answered my other question, that was asked on the air during the BlueMassGroup interview: What deal did he make with the BRA in trade for that vote to perpetuate the BRA's Urban Renewal Plans? That was the subject of the dozen secret meetings that he's still in court for, four and a half years and a quarter of a million taxpayer dollars later.