Category: recently learned
01/06/09 09:21 - 17ºF - ID#47303
Do we deserve what we get?
Please tell me Byran Brown is not running for Mayor again. Please tell me that Buffaloians cannot be so foolish as to reelect him...please...*much gnashing of teeth*
Location: Buffalo, NY
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I will be working on something this primary. I don't know what yet, I am just a grunt.
A budget is never a values based document... it is this approach, frankly, that has gotten NYS and California in the position they are in, which is that they have no money and are looking for more "streams of revenue." I don't think they thought of the irony of the "values-based document" line when discussing soda taxes, iTunes taxes, eradicating the cap on state gas taxes, increased property taxes, etc. etc. etc. You wouldn't do it with your own personal budget if survival was on the line, and neither would any of the legislators. If Erie County were a company it would have been dissolved long ago.
NYS and Erie County in particular have never been responsible with public money. If you as a trustee of public dollars insist on including items in the budget that have no way of being funded, other than to drive taxes and fees up continually as they are here, then you are insane and the voters who put these people in deserve what they get. What the hell are we going to do, run a deficit for 100 years straight because there is no tax base to fund all the stuff we'd love to do? Ok, so we've saved "essential and vital services" but people are fed up with the cost of living and the taxes and leave?
The idea of a budget being a "values-based document" has put our locality in the situation it is in. You do not create a budget by starting with what you'd like to do, without certainty, or at least a rational and realistic estimate in certain streams of revenue. Period. Erie Cty. is already complaining about loss of sales tax revenue because of the economy, and this is after they raised it due to previous alleged budget shortages. For these people, the problem is never the budget, but finding the funding needed to enact the budget. Hell, NYS will tell you that they cut their budget, but no they didn't - they merely slashed "intended spending." NYS's budget is actually still growing next year. This is why a "values-based" budget is only created by irresponsible people that should be removed from office. I don't see a lot of people thinking NYS or Erie Cty. has done a great job of budgeting and it would be absurd to give them credit for keeping and expanding services, when to do so requires more taxes and an expansion of the Buffalo diaspora.
So, a "values-based document" approach to budgeting is only useful if you have the means to actually go through with it. If you don't, then you create a dysfunctional government, will continually impose higher taxes and fees to enact that which you've promised, and people won't eat/live/shop/work here anymore. NYS is the first or second most expensive state to live in terms of taxation, on every level. Why the hell *should* people come to Buffalo when the government can't produce a responsible budget or encourage economic growth? Add the draconian house reassessments every other year, which is an imposition of increased taxes without a vote, and I wonder why people would come here at all. Altruism only gets you so far.
The fighting that goes on in that body is amazing. And why shouldn't the budget be a values based document? When the Chris Collins wants to slash funding for services for the poorest members of the county but throw money at the richest, I say a values based document is pretty darn useful.