EDITORIAL/City spending worse than thought
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 12:00 AM
City expenditures have exceeded revenues by $7.8 million the last decade and the 2013 shortfall was worse than anticipated, an annual audit shows.
Expenditures were a whopping $613,896 higher than revenues, the 2013 audit showed. That's $113,896 more than the anticipated shortfall as officials have drawn down a mountain of reserves since 2001.
The Mayor and Board of Aldermen in September raised taxes in a controversial 3-2 vote, making Philadelphians among the highest taxed in the region.
All of this spending, as primary revenue sources have increased or at least remained fairly steady year to year.
So the problem is a spending problem, not a revenue problem.
Aldermen must begin balancing the budget immediately or the consequences will be catastrophic. Look at Detroit!
We normally blame Democrats for tax hikes, but, ironically, it was a newly-elected alderman, the chairman of the Neshoba County Republican Party, who made the motion to raise taxes.
To be sure, deficit spending began under a former Republican mayor and has ballooned under a Democratic one already in his second term.
We have good people at City Hall, despite their propensity to spend. Spending is a vice that can be brought under control where there is a will - and the expertise.
Neshoba County has sharpened its pencil and balanced budgets in recent years, while the city has bled out with a red ink pen.
Philadelphia can't stand another tax increase, so a spending reduction is the only alternative short of new revenue growth.
Tax hikes discourage economic development and jobs creation, but that bullet has already been fired.
The Mayor and Board of Aldermen must get a handle on finances now because the very future of the city hangs in the balance.