I have to say, the interviews of the various candidates for common council that have appeared so far in the local media have been nearly to useless to me. I have no doubt the editorial response to the recent State Audit will be scathing. But when it comes to the candidate’s interviews, I’m reading softball answers to softball questions. Amsterdam’s financial difficulties have been well known for years now and have been underscored by the recent release of the State Audit. But I’ve read precious few details about how any of the candidates plan to cut expenses or raise revenue. Whether online or in print, I’m hearing a lot of rhetoric, vague ideas and finger pointing, but no solid proposals.
Please note, I’ve revised the table I had here before based on the advice from some of my commentors. I’ve posted the new table with an explanation here.
The pie charts are still good though!
The fact is the city has outspent it’s revenues in every fiscal year since 2000. Here’s the stats compiled from the NY State Controller’s website Over the past 12 years, on average the city has overspent by 3.2 million dollars per year. I think voters need to task our local leaders with a simple and achievable target that will get us back on track financially. I think that target should be to reduce expenditures and/or increase revenues by a total of at least $4M (or by about 11% of 2011’s expenditures) per year. We’ve only got about a week left before the elections, but I believe that candidates (as well as the Mayor) need to provide some solid answers to the $4M question. Where do we cut? And where do we find new revenue? How do we bridge that $4M gap? Here’s the pie charts that show where the money comes from and where it gets spent. Tell me where we should slice or where we can increase…
It’s not like the data isn’t out there for candidates to do their homework. The current budget is available online. The state controller’s office also has a wealth of stats that document our finances over the years (h/t to Flippin for guiding me to this resource). You can also view the finances of every other city in NY for comparison.
I understand politicians don’t like to stake specific objectives – lest they be held accountable if they fail to reach them. But frankly, I don’t think we should continue to accept that.
Stipulation: I don’t accept a candidate pointing out a few minor expenses and then claiming “it all adds up.” If you’re sure it all adds up, show your math. Then I’ll believe you.
If you agree, feel free to share this challenge with your favorite (or least favorite) candidate.