Overspending is out of control everywhere and many cities around the world are making some tough decisions. Here in Toronto, Mayor Rob Ford is heading in the direction of cutting services, rather than making any serious cuts of employees, but has indicated he will eliminate jobs by attrition and contracting out.
The really sad part about the pink slips in Nassau County, NY is the firings could have been averted if taxes had been raised by 25 cents per household per week. (as reported in local media)
It has been reported that the county could save over $10 million per year with the cuts, and yet they are projecting a $310 million deficit for next year.
Mary Studdert of the Nassau County press office said, “They were layoffs, not firings,” and she cannot comment on the 25 cent per week tax increase, which has been reported in the local media. Studdert went on to say, “The County faced a $310 million deficit for 2012. The Legislature passed a budget that closes the gap with $150 million in labor concessions and $160 million in other gap closing measures. This was round 1 of labor saving actions which are projected to save the County $75 million. A second round will take place by February 1st to achieve the final $75 million in labor savings needed to balance the budget.”
Nassau County is a suburb of New York City with a population of around 1.3 million people and about 25 miles from downtown New York City.
As reported in the local Long Island News,“Labor leaders called it a dark day for the county. County Executive Edward P. Mangano blamed the unions for not offering enough concessions. About 100 workers are estimated to have taken the buyouts.”
The Union did not see it that way, they feel “Today I call Nassau Country the embarrassment of New York State,” said Jerry Laricciuta, president of the Civil Service Employees Association Nassau Local 830, the largest in the county.
“We had a total of about 350 affected by this, and over years of mismanagement, not raising revenue as expenses grew, they ran out of cash.”
He also mentioned that the current government did not want to increase taxes and this is the result. “This union has given concessions for years, and given back over $50 million, to keep this county solvent, and they just won’t raise taxes because of politics.”
About the 25 cent increase in taxes Laricciuta said, “To save the services and the jobs we lost yesterday, the cost to the residents would have been about 25 cents per week per household, but they don’t want the public to know that, and that’s what they are not being told, they’re just saying, no taxes, no taxes. It’s a political platform their running on, their not being transparent.”
He said the County could save about $50 million, by laying off just his union members alone.
If something is not done here in Toronto, we can expect the same, we are spending far more than we are taking in. The thing I don’t get, is I see all the condos going up all over downtown, and the city keeps saying “We are broke.” Are they not getting tax revenue from these condos?
If we want to keep the same standard of living we enjoy in Toronto, we must pay for it, or what is the alternative, we don’t want to be the Nassau County, North.