Numerous Arizona news outlets are reporting that “officials” with the City of Phoenix estimate the budget deficit for the upcoming fiscal year could range from $50 million to $80 million.
That’s an extraordinarily wide range coming from unidentified “officials.”
In late 2009 Phoenix faced a budget shortfall of more than $277 million — resulting in some program reductions, threatened cutbacks from vital services unions and culminating with the implementation of a 2 percent city sales tax on food, intended to generate tens of millions of dollars in new revenue for city services. The tax was touted as infusing an estimated $12.5 million into the city coffers for the fiscal year ending June 30 and another $50 million for the following fiscal year.
During that same time, Seeing Red AZ noted that the City of Phoenix paid $14.3 million to 6,989 employees in unconscionable “retention bonuses.” That’s $2 million more than the food tax brought in during its first year.
Now Mayor Philly Gordon and the Phoenix City Council are proposing a 7.0% or $23 million residential water rate increase. For this ill-timed rate hike, they received editorial encouragement from the Arizona Republic in which the newspaper counsels the council to “show wisdom and courage” and implement the increase.
With home values slashed, and residential foreclosures and unemployment at record highs, our elected banditos still view us as cash cows.
We urge attendance at tomorrow’s (Wednesday, January 19) 3:00 PM meeting at the City Council Chambers, 200 West Washington Street, 85003 (Map here). Let your voice be heard on this worst of times water-rate increase.