Saturday, October 30, 2010

No Pay Raise

City on course for financial ruin - latimes.com

The city of Costa Mesa in California is near bankruptcy. Like many cities in California and across the nation Costa Mesa is not collecting the tax money they had hoped to get. Revenues are down or they are increasing at a slower rate than they previously had been. As a result responsible governments are cutting expenditures, and living within their means. Just like their citizens. When faced with a very short term cash flow problem, I understand that agencies, just like people, can borrow a few dollars from their credit cards or other sources to float along until the money returns. This only works for very short term problems. If borrowing becomes a method of financing regular expenditures then the city or the person will go deeply into debt that they can't recover from without either being very lucky or cutting very badly. Rather than face those problems, the city voted to increase police and fire salaries. They are spending money they don't have and are not likely to get.

The Federal Government has borrowed unprecedented amounts of money and it is only because our competitors, like Communist China have purchased out debt. If these nations quit buying our debt, we could face crippling inflation and not be able to finance our government. Cities, states and the Federal government need to live within their means. That means no increases for any employees for a while.

Real incomes for citizens have gone down and citizens have had to cut expenses. That means cities need to cut expenses. That means police salaries need to stay the same or even be cut over the next few years. This will not be popular with police unions and many officers. It has to be done. Politicians who try and raise taxes will find there is no money to tax. In California we have the highest taxes in the nation and the state still tells us they don't have enough money. That can't continue. It will be easier to take a small decrease in pay or keep pay the same for the next three to five years than it will be to take massive lay offs, disband agencies, and place hiring freezes; that's what the SGT Says.

4 comments:

Bob G. said...

Sarge:
One "trend" I've been noticing that is greatly affecting departments across the nation is the whole aspect of GRANTS.

Say, in one year, a department gets a nice GRANT to purchase specified gear, or hire on additional personnel.

The continuation OF the personnel is wholly contingent UPON that grant money.
When the funds "go away", unfortunately, those officers can no longer be funded, and have to be laid off.
Ditto for equipment that needs maintenance or even replacement.

In economic times like these, departments WANT (and often NEED) such grant money, but it's not a "given" every year after that.

And they need to REMEMBER that...if only from a public safety standpoint.

Have a great Sunday, and roll safe out there.

ccm2361 said...

Another problem with grants is some states & cities have used Grant not just to hold the line, but used the money to INCREASE spending & then are in a really tight spot when the grant money dries up.

Bunkermeister said...

My agency used grant money to buy computers but when they broke no money was there for repair or replacement. Grants have to be considered as a part of a whole, not the magic wand.

Bunkermeister said...

Grants are best used to make a one time purchase or event happen. Money should be set aside for incidentals that the grant does not cover and saved up to replace the items when they wear out.