Money was on the agenda Monday night down at city hall... money for budgets, a little less money from the scam-era system, and money for the county. Money, money, money... in fact $490 MILLION of your hard earned tax money was allocated as part of the city's overall budget plan (ABQ Journal - Subscription Required).
Talking about the city budget or taxes is like watching paint dry (or like trying to sit through a typical City Council meeting without falling asleep or attempting suicide). We bet that you didn't even flinch when you read that the city approved a budget of almost half a billion dollars. Let us say that again... HALF A BILLION DOLLARS! That's your money and that's our money and how it is spent is of tremendous importance to not only our pocketbooks now, but to our future ability to fill those pocket books.
The past six or so years Mayor Almighty with his willing accomplices on the council, have been on a spending spree increasing the city budget by $125 MILLION more (we told you about it here) than can be accounted for by the rate of inflation (ABQ Journal - Subscription Required). The city has been and continues to act as if the party will never end and thus they believe they will always the revenue to support their ambitions and their insatiable appetite for our money.
What have we gotten for all of our taxpayer generosity? A whole lot of shiny new amenities (read as taxpayer responsibilities), a dysfunctional police department, and a trolley on the way. That's right, the council voted to include our mayor's favorite 19th Century Streetcar as part of the Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).
The move doesn't allocate funding for the trolley, but it makes its inclusion part of our overall transportation plan. I thought that at least the Benton sales... ah, "study" group would at least regale us with how important the trolley was before they included it in the plan. Must be some sort of governmental thing... plan for the need before you determine that you have a need, and if you already have (like more police officers on the street) a need - ignore it.
As for taxes (of all sorts) the council voted to keep the 1/8 cent sales tax in place until July 2008 citing the need to support the county jail with the $9 MILLION expected to come in through the continuance of the tax. We do know that the new jail is struggling to find space for all of the bad guys that are being shipped out to the West side. We do know that a large percentage of those miscreants come from our fair city and that the county often complains that the city isn't carrying its share of the fiscal burden (perhaps it isn't).
However, one hundred percent of those enjoying the hospitality of the county's west side facility are Bernalillo county prisoners; otherwise they'd be locked up in some other county jail. More importantly, whose hare-brained idea was it to give a one-time no strings attached, $9 MILLION bonus to the county? And exactly how does it solve the problem of the inability of the city to get along with the county? Here's an idea... give us back our money before you find another excuse to continue to waste it.
Finally, and at long last, the city council voted last night to move the deck chairs. After careful consideration and much debate, we'll get $50 off the first infraction, and $200 off the second, along with an additional 15 days in which to appeal our conviction (ABQ Journal - Subscription Required). We say conviction because we long ago established that you are guilty until proven innocent under this Kangaroo Camera-Court system.
The only sense came from Councilor Winter who pointed out that moving around the deck chairs does nothing to repair the damage done by due process iceberg. Perhaps the councilors are trying to hurry along the abducted bride syndrome described by Chief Schultz by lowering the fines to make it appear that we can all live without the very foundation of our legal system - due process.
Money, money, money... they'll take more of it (an 1/8th cent for the county and MILLIONs from the Red Light Scam-eras). They'll spend more of it (Almost a HALF BILLION DOLLARS for the city budget). And they'll continue to work on ways to keep every cent of tax revenue (1/4 cent Transportation Infrastructure Tax for the trolley - 1/8th cent sales tax for the jail now and who knows what later).
This is our money folks... and as much as we at Eye on Albuquerque complain about, deride, and make fun of the mayor and council for their spend happy ways; it's everyone's fault that they get away with it. We keep electing them and they keep spending. Why are we surprised?
The Piercing Truth
This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes