The news sounded so, so good to start out. After enduring six years of knife-to-the-throat tax increases under Chris Coleman, it almost looked as if Saint Paul was going to finally wake up, smell the anti-spending coffee, and get real…
…but only if you don’t read too closely.
No, it does start promisingly:
The St. Paul City Council on Wednesday passed a 2011 budget without an increase in the property tax levy for the first time since Mayor Chris Coleman took office five years ago.
The adopted budget, after accounting adjustments, is about $473 million, an increase of about $4.2 million from 2010.
Coleman hailed the passage, calling it a victory for property taxpayers in St. Paul.
OK. So far so good. As long as there are no hidden whammies.
But when DFLers talk about being fiscally responsible, there is always a hidden whammy. Emphasis added:
Still, he and officials in local governments across the state are bracing for what will happen at the Legislature as lawmakers look for solutions to solve a $6.2 billion hole in the state budget.
“As we head into the new year, we are eager to work with Gov. Dayton and the Legislature on a budget solution for the state that allows local governments the resources necessary to do what we’ve done in St. Paul — to craft a budget that invests in public safety and other critical services without increasing the burden on property tax payers,” Coleman said in a statement.
Coleman built his budget assuming the city would receive $62.5 million in local government aid from the state. The city has had its allocations cut in recent years, though.
Coleman and the Gang of Seven are holding the City of Saint Paul hostage, to coerce the new legislature to give them their way.
Joe Doakes – a fellow Saint Paul hostage – writes:
So the Council intentionally adopted a budget based on getting a subsidy from the State, a subsidy that we all know doesn’t have a snowball’s chance of happening in a Republican-dominated legislature. The only possible rationale for that is to gain political negotiating advantage. If the Republicans don’t raise state taxes to fund St. Paul’s budget, we’ll have to lay off cops and firefighters. And it’ll all be the Republican’s fault! Because they hate Minorities! And children! And kittens! If Republicans don’t pony up, we’ll make St. Paul residents suffer! And it’ll be their fault!
In other words, the St. Paul City Council just took its own citizens hostage.
Yep. Because it’s for sure it won’t be the Mayor’s two dozen staff offices that get cut. It won’t be the massively-redundant Park and Rec effort, or Kathy Lantry’s Landlord Harassment program. It’ll be the cops and firemen that get laid off first.
Seems St. Paul hasn’t changed so much since Dillinger hid out here in the 1930’s, the crooks just moved to nicer offices.
At least when Dillinger roamed the streets, the law-abiding citizens knew who the crooks were, and didn’t keep returning them to office.