On September 8/08, the JS published an article by Doug Finke of Gatehouse News Service reading: "Members of the AFSCME have overwhelmingly ratified a new four year contract with the State of Illinois that will give them raises of 15.25% over the life of the pact. The union represents about 37,000 state employees. This same union represents about 125 employees working for Peoria County. To offset our counties budget deficits, the AFSCME local representative, seems to prefer a state income tax hike by saying. "If the state elects to raise taxes, some of this, (Peoria Counties deficit)if not all, is going to go away." He continues, "Not only would tax increases help the state, they would help the counties and cities as well."
The county has some disagreement with that statement. The union complains about the counties overspending and the county administration says the issue if not one of overspending, but of sharp declines in revenue streams. These comments are taken from the JS on 6/29/09 under the heading of, "Union doesn't 'look kindly on concessions".
At the time of the 15.25% increase for AFSCME state employees, a recession had more than arrived nationwide and worldwide. (and this now local recession) As of June, 2009, AFSCME union workers were getting nice salary and resulting pension increases from the state and elsewhere. I want to remind my reader of a few economic warning headlines in the JS and WSJ that all citizens should have been aware of; these headlines are as follows:
8/08, 2008, JS - Peoria Economy Slips Again - Even if the rest of the country starts to recover, Peoria could stay in the dumps.
3/14/08, WSJ - Recession is Inevitable.
2/12/08, WSJ - America on the Move, 5 states showing the fastest departures of residents, listed Illinois as #5 among the losers. Why, taxes, more taxes and other considerations.
12/15/08, JS - Study: Consumer Outlook in Area Continues to Erode.
In April 2008, Illinois Business Magazine quoted 92nd District Republican Aaron Schock as saying "the governor's proposed bloated budget proposal is full of the same gimmicks and taxes as last year." This year, new governor Quinn appears to has also bought in the the "lets spend OPM on things we don't really need, (good causes) priorities can wait".
1/11/09, Js - Peoria's empty buildings tell the story.
Not that Aaron is not cut of somewhat the same cloth. This summer will tell as some appropriations and stimulus monies sneak into some "good cause", non-priority projects as listed in an upcoming blog. But then, one strong Republican supporter, said at a 2nd Ward Republican breakfast, "we will take all the stimulus money (talking about government support for the new PRM) we can get, not matter what the cause, because more money is taken out of Peoria than we ever get back."
Interesting. Never been a question that more tax money is taken out of most any community than ever comes back. Close to 70%, more I suspect. Similar to a gambling casino where some also get back more than they bet. In government, some get back more through subsidies. Today, it seems, if you aren't being subsidized, you are not in the "in" crowd.
However, the elected are supposed to sift out the priorities from the "good causes".
Anyway, all involved in passing blame are all involved in the different degrees of involvement in the blame. Citizens, for not paying closer attention as to what is going on in their community and world, the unions, as usual, demanding more of everything, public boards, often card carriers themselves and not as experienced as union bosses, public boards authorizing more spending for "good causes" (digging up the dead0 think the poor planning involved at Lincoln Library) and well-meaning ambitious administrations wanting to leave their "mark" before moving "up the ladder".
As most do.
On large problem is that Peoria County Administration is counting on an average increase of 3% for the next 30 years. I personally have not bought into that scenario.
This may be carefully thought out or wishful thinking as this county is going to see a greater need for more revenues and taxes to support all the ambitious plans, some aggrandized and considered by some as necessary, some are necessary, no doubt, on the the drawing boards of community leaders.
Anyway, our leadership and citizenry can't say they weren't warned. They were, if they wanted to listen. A few did but now enough and now even the PPD is in a bind. Today's article by Catherine, says, of course, they are operating in the black.
An interesting statement when the fell $5 million short on the zoo, cut out all the new ballparks promised years ago and close the public pools at 5:00 PM. 5:00 PM, good grief. The PPD administration brags of their assets. They should, most of their assets come from tax dollars, donation dollars, fees and grant revenues and many large and small donations of land and other valuable tangibles . And the PPD too, carries a substantial debt including the RiverPlex.