Budget balancing act kaput – kapow, as of now...
Waco – Sad but true. After years of conservative yammering about profligate spending, unsustainable debt – the whole 9 – you've got yourself a solid rock-ribbed Republican lineup, and guess what.
They got no budget. Not even a clue. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
According to the Auditor, Stan Chambers, it sometimes takes the kind of when the big hand is on the 12 and the little hand is on the 12 logic, enunciated slowly and precisely, to get through that it's high noon. Showdown time. Pay the piper. Bite the bullet. No tickee, no washee.
Even if they raise taxes to the maximum roll-back rate, the highest they can go without having to schedule an election for voter approval, they will still be millions of dollars short the following year, after the sack for 2013-2014 is empty.
At the current tax rate of 48.4258 cents per $100 assessed valuation, said Mr. Chambers, the County will collect about $44.25 million, which, combined with the $12 that will be in the coffers at the beginning of the 2013-2014 fiscal year, will provide $81 million to spend, but here's the catch.
There will only be $3 million left over at the end of the year, when it's time to plan for 2015.
The rollback rate? That's about 53.53 cents, about a nickel more.
“You can go to the rollback rate and still not fund this budget. That’s what I’m trying to show you,” Mr. Chambers said in a recent workshop session.
That's what they mean by unsustainable.
In the prelude to firing Budget Director Adam Harry, he commented in exasperation one day during the tax and spend vengeance year of 2010 that his task was kind of like a game of blind man's bluff.
So far, they have cut about a half-million from the budget, and the fresh ideas just keep rolling in. Commissioner Will Jones, a Waco Tea Party stalwart, suggested they all take a 5 percent pay cut. Mr. Jones led loud “honk-ins” at the offices of former Congressman Chet Edwards in downtown Waco while other Tea Partiers shouted and raised hell over liberals and their willy nilly tax and spend ways.
Eliminate some Justice Court and Constable precincts.
There's news from that quarter. The U.S. Congress doesn't have a budget, either.
Commissioner Snell and others think County's pensioners, all 70 of them, long since retired, should start paying their own medical expenses of about $330 a month.
Yeah. We'll get back to you on that one.
Here's the kicker. With the first annual fiscal hearing coming up next week, something mandated by state law, guess what? Legendary Reporter R.S. Gates went by there yesterday to inquire.
There is no budget on file in the County Clerk's office for review by the public. It's simply unavailable. That's what the number two man in that Constitutional Office had to say. Sorry about that.
That's what all that hysteria and hype, hyperbole and loud shouting about voting the bums out got We the People. Such a deal.