Thursday, August 05, 2004

Running on empty

By December, the city is projecting a cash shortfall of $8.8 million, said the budget director. The City Controller's office said the shortfall could be up to $12 million.

The budget director said, "When we see this picture, we just don't sit back." Meanwhile, the city's reserve fund had been in past years as great as $80-million. That fund balance has dropped by $20-$30 million each of the past few years. Now it is running to empty.

Fear not. The city is not hiring. Many are retiring. Attrition is high.

Sala's first line of questions was to the timing of additional borrowing. The slogan "tax-and-spend Democrats" won't fit any more. Rather the new slogan needs to be "borrow, spend and beg" -- and in that order.

"We know that 2005 will bring a balanced budget," said the budget director. To bad the last two years saw illegal budgets.

Every year for at least the next three year, Pittsburgh will need a tax note at the start of the year to borrow some $30-million.

The hole that Mayor Murphy and the others in leadership positions have been digging is very deep. And, the real digging has yet to end.

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