Tuesday, August 31, 2010

City of Tucson Budget Crisis

Mind Set and the Economic Crisis

Another tax hike will cut commercial spending, which is an undesirable outcome even though the city would then have more money to spend. Take from the many to give to the few. I think it is time for new ideas.

An analysis of city spending needs to be made. I will begin with SunTran.

How often do the routes run?

What is % ridership? If it is 25%, then four too many buses are being run.

How much is this transit management team being paid? They are producing nothing.

How much federal funding does Tucson get for transit?

How many actual runs would serve the needs of the riders?

At forty cents a ride, maybe a little inconvenience is worth it. If SunTran cannot afford to run so many buses due to low ridership, then it would save money to cut the number of buses. Preserve the routes but not the frequent pickup times. People who ride the bus will plan ahead to continue using the service. If these excess runs are being demanded by the union in order to create jobs, this point must be negotiated. The money is just not there for them to spend. The taxpayers are subsidizing their jobs with no increase in productivity.

The ticket subsidy should remain the same if SunTran cuts the bus runs. This is the sacrifice asked of the people who ride the bus to the budget crisis. They cannot afford to pay more. The 'executive staff' giving up their free cars and cell phones might be a nice gesture. How about they get a free bus pass?

This plan will cut personnel costs and might result in layoffs, unless the drivers want to get together and share the actual available work. This plan would cut personnel insurance costs. Fewer buses would be running, so the bus fleet would last longer. Running huge empty buses is a waste of machine hours, fuel, insurance, street surfaces and productivity. This is like a teacher giving sixth graders scads of third grade work to keep them quiet. It works but there's no productivity. Those handicapped transit vans could run when full by appointment, with a driver on call, not just to pick up one person. You know, like the shuttles to Nogales from South Sixth.

This is a right to work state. The unions have no right to demand that the city fund excess bus runs in order to maintain their membership dues payments.

An analysis of the mindset that asks Don't you think that this worker is worth $100,000 or $50,000 or whatever? The question they should be asking is: What is the amount we actually have to pay workers? Figure that out and then cut payments and city funded benefits to workers to what the city can actually afford to pay. If these workers feel slighted, then they can move on. In this job climate, applicants at a lower pay will be legion.

This brings me to somebody's saying that each department will be cut X%. This screams assumption that each department is equally important, not top-heavy, overstaffed or even competent. An analysis needs to be made on each department. Some departments could be eliminated entirely, others remain more intact. Maybe some departments can be merged into others. I know it's easier to leave it all intact, but I question the efficiency of spending in some instances.

How about the city visit one of those agencies that do debt consolidation and renegotiation? I know this has already been done, but perhaps something could be gained. Has the city considered 'clawbacks' of money paid out with little received in return? It happens on Wall Street why not here? I am awaiting the Rio Nuevo Audit. Possibly charges can be filed? Excess indebtedness has eroded the value of the tax dollar to $.60 with $.40 going into the pockets of the moneylenders for years and years to come. What about default? What are the options?

According to a verbal report, the Fed wants to keep 3-4% inflation rate, which helps pay off the exorbitant Federal debts run up in the last 10 years. If that happens, that means we pay higher costs for everything, while unemployment continues and the people have less to spend. Higher taxes on top of that will simply put more of the money supply in the hands of government for distribution to that select group of workers. This is onerous when reorganization has not be achieved. Reorganization of city departments should result in lower taxes, not higher. Excess indebtedness has eroded the value of the tax dollar to $.60 with $.40 going into the pockets of the moneylenders for years and years to come. What about default? What are the options?