Did You Know?
Budgets – An Illusion?
Annually for the past several years, Montgomery County has suffered budget gaps in the hundreds of millions but the County Council has feigned surprise. The handwriting has been on the wall but has been ignored by the Council. The Council’s mathematics of wishful thinking has caused the shortfalls below:
Annual Revenue Gap
- FY 08: $173.7 million
- FY 09: $400.9 million
- FY10: $587.5 million
- FY 11: $978.9 million
Most people budget on the income they have while our Council budgets on the income it wishes it had.
All’s Fair in Budget Wars?
The County Executive’s recommended Budget for FY 2011 is an exercise in courage, eliminating payraises, furloughing 80 hours per employee and abolishing 450 positions. This, along with some massive cuts to County agencies, will result in greatly diminished services for many. Why these drastic steps? To protect the Public Schools (consuming over 50% of the tax-supported budget and protected by State law) and thus limiting their reduction to 3.4%, Public Libraries will be cut 22%, transportation will be cut 23%, Housing and Community Affairs will be cut 24%, and Health and Human Services 11%. Thus the general public, seniors, the disabled, the uninsured and the ill will pay the price.
Return of the Phantom Menace
Though the cost of living actually fell last year, this inconvenient truth didn’t stop the Council from passing 7-1, a “phantom” cost of living adjustment to county employees pensions. Though keeping employee salaries flat for one year, this action raises each employee’s pension base, costing taxpayers $8.5 million a year or several hundred million for the next several decades. Anne Arundel County awarded its pension raise for one year only, but in Montgomery County, our generosity knows no bounds.
The Council repealed the phantom COLA in May 2010. Read the MCTL President’s testimony in support of the repeal.
The Rainy Day Fund or the beginnings of a Drought?
From the end of FY 2009 to FY 2010, the Revenue Stabilization Fund aka Rainy Day Fund tumbled by 85.2% from $119.6 million to $17.7 million. The proposed budget will replenish the Fund to $54.8 million. Where will the money come from? Where did the money go?