When this year started back in January, Tom Menino said that he was facing a $140 million dollar budget deficit. This "deficit" was based on the fact that he was proposing a year over year budget increase of 6.25%. You can make up any "deficit" you want by insisting you need to increase your budget by a certain amount. A large part of the increase was the 5% across the board salary increases for every single City employee.
Later, when the Mayor introduced the budget to the City Council he started off his speech by saying "the budget goes up every year by 2 to 3 percent. I was astounded that he would say this, because he was either lying or didn't know what he was talking about. In this last term of his administration the budget had never gone up by less than 4%. When 1% is 25 million dollars, that is a lot of money! The cost of living index goes up by 2 to 3 percent a year on average, and our city budget should grow accordingly with a steady population which Boston has.
Instead, our budget has almost doubled the rate of inflation: In 2005, the budget increased by 4.43%. In 2006, it increased by 6.00%. In 2007, it increased by 4.62%. And in 2008, it increased by 6.41%. Now in fiscal year 2009, we increased by about 4%.
I ran into the Mayor and Dot Joyce at a neighborhood function where the Mayor was there to answer questions. I asked if I could pose a question to him and he said "no buddy". So I asked Dot Joyce the question of why the Mayor said the budget went up 2 to 3 percent a year, when it goes up more than that. Below is her reply, listen for the citizen in the background asking her incredulously "how can you know it goes up 2 to 3 percent a year and not 4 percent?" He clearly had his BS detector on.