It was reported today that Republican Mayoral candidate Mark DeSantis has unveiled a spending plan that would drastically cut city spending.
It’s innovation like this that Pittsburgh has needed for decades, not just years. The plan predicts a $193 million savings by 2012. We aren’t receiving plans like this from the Interim Mayor, Luke Ravenstahl.
The most impressive aspect of the plan is cutting the bloated and heavy Mayor’s Office. In times of financial crisis, there is no reason whatsoever to easily be able to trim $500,000 from the Mayor’s staff, which is generally nothing more than a dumping ground for political supporters and other “friends” in the neighborhood.
Looking at the city’s expenses like a business is what’s needed. If a hiring freeze is needed for non-essential workers, as DeSantis proposes, then it has to be considered.
Seeking a home-rule-charter amendment that ties city spending to the Consumer Price Index and population levels is only smart business. Politics generally doesn’t coincide with business, hence the financial straights of many urban epicenters.
Selling city-owned real estate is paramount. There’s no reason for the city to be in the business of real estate speculation. That’s for the private sector. The current system simply isn’t working, so it has to be re-evaluated. Add to that a desire to increase the entrepreneurial spirit in Pittsburgh, and that’s a “no brainer.” That has to be done for the city to once again experience fiscal growth.
Pittsburgh also has expensive real estate, wage and payroll taxes. DeSantis floats the idea of cutting those taxes as a way of spurring growth. Raising taxes has never, in recorded history of man, ever meant positive economic growth, especially when city services are terrible compared to virtually every other municipality in Allegheny County. There have to be financial incentives for good people, families and others to plant roots in Pittsburgh. Under the current spend-happy series of Democratic regimes, there aren’t any fiscal advantages to being a “real” Pittsburgher. It’s almost universally less expensive to live in any of the county’s other 129 towns, boroughs and municipalities.
Worker’s compensation and overtime costs are a small gold mine for city workers, firefighters in particular. It’s more than time to get those costs under control. It’s possible to hire three firefighters for the $120,000 some individuals make. That’s abusing the system of overtime and compensation.
The city’s population continues to drop at incredible rates. Continuing on the current path of economic destruction will not reverse trends.
Mark DeSantis was very slow getting out of the gate, but he has improved in recent weeks. There’s more reason than ever to vote for change on November 6.