None of them have put forth a way to cut the $33 million deficit for 2012. None of those on council last year in this group put forth a way to actually balance the budget. They have ideas, but they can't seem to bother naming the cuts needed to reach the required $33 million.
Instead, as Jane lists out, each of the 'fiscal five' have pet projects each wants to cut or have hollow ideas that have finite dollar values to be considered serious.. None of this ideas add up to anything close to balancing the budget because none do anything to cut the Police Department.
This is where the math comes in. The same 5 refuse to have property owners pay 10 dollars per 100,000 more to take the $33 Million down to $29 Million. So, they cut revenues, again, for the property owners who want the police coverage, which the 5 won't cut along with the revenue cuts. If you subtract from revenues you need to subtract from expenses. Subtracting from revenues doesn't increase revenues. That's magical math normally reserved for princes and frogs, but I guess for conservatives, property owners are like neo-feudal lords that actually believe in magic that can turn tax cuts into instant money to pay for more cops than we actually need. Luther would be proud, I suppose.
Of the pet projects, they one with elements on the table that could put a dent in the deficit would be Chris Bortz's thoughts, but his ideas rely on an unproven assumptions: that outsourcing will save money. He also wants to cut programs that don't cost much, but many would find go along way to help the police govern more effectively in the long run, like the Citizen's Compliant Authority.
The rest of the council members either have hot button issues that add up to service cuts that don't come anywhere near $33 million or they rely on the pie in the sky word "merger", which does nothing now. Mergers are ideas to dangle in front of the ignorant voter, but the semi-smart voter knows none of the merger ideas can be worked out in time before council is required by the Charter to pass a 2012 budget. City/County merger ideas are actually good thoughts, but they are long term issues that need much thought and discussion, something that takes time and focus, which isn't being started in an election year, just talking about. Mergers are not something you can use to plug short term budget deficits. That requires actual numbers.
So, I put forth the challenge to all 5 conservatives on council. If they are serious about governing, they do have the majority after all, then they need to create a budget cutting plan that adds up to $33 million in savings. This would be a real budget, not a pretend one. Pretending includes using "mergers" ideas or ticket amnesty. Anyone who does not have a concrete set of numbers that add up to $33 million is lying when they say they have a budget plan.
The only thing all 5 seem to be willing to do is what ever the FOP wants. None of them will say a word about cutting a dime from anything the FOP says it needs, but will cut they rest of the city's budget (CFD not included). Ghiz is the worst and she knows her hypocrisy and doesn't care. Her quote from the article is priceless:
"I don't care about fair," Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz said.Supporting the FOP gets her votes. Governing the city and making cuts that are best for all workers and citizens doesn't get her votes. It is crass politics, but it is what she does.