[N]ew home construction is way off in Albuquerque. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research expects home building permits will be down 60 percent this year compared with last year.The drop was hardly surprising considering the fact that new housing starts in Albuquerque had already been declining due to onerous impact fees and ever increasing regulations regarding everything from toilets to insulation.
At first glance, it doesn't seem to be a problem other than underscoring the country's economic decline. However, the city depends on income from things like impact fees and even building permits to pay for its ever growing bureaucracy.
Our Eyes tell us that the planning department is starting to feel the pinch as their force of tax collectors, uh... building inspectors are not busy red tagging contractors, but wiling away their time at home. You see, when permits aren't pulled there's nothing to inspect.
Unlike their private sector counter-parts, the inspectors are employees of the city (who probably got double paid last week) which means that it doesn't matter whether or not there's work to do they still get paid. Meanwhile, private contractors are busy trying to scare up some business just to put food on the table.
The inspectors are a perfect example of the difference between public and private sectors. Private companies must adapt to market conditions to stay alive. They'll reassign, retrain, and even let go of workers when there's no work to do. Otherwise, a private company cannot stay in business.
On the other hand, government simply digs into our pockets to pay for workers who have no work to do unless or until developers start building again. Meanwhile, city inspectors are livin' the dream - being paid despite the absence of any real work.