would not be in the fix it is today were it not for the continued spending by Commissioners Todd Portune and David Pepper from a fund that already is insolvent. Their over-spending has accelerated the day of reckoning to the middle of today’s recession, when tax revenues are depressed and the problems even more pronounced.
Since the democrats have taken control of the County Commission, and knowing that the fund was broke, Portune and Pepper have committed to $90 million in new spending on the Banks infrastructure, and Commissioners have spent more than $20 million on outside counsel. This and other mis-spending has driven a Stadium Fund deficit that requires a tax increase or a subsidy from the County’s general fund in 2011.
Perhaps even worse than the negligent financial projects of a prior commission, Portune and Pepper have committed to spending millions on future phases of the Banks project, knowing that the fund was hopelessly insolvent, thus committing County voters to a nearly inevitable tax increase.
Breaking a solemn campaign promise, David Pepper has proposed eliminating the property tax rollback that was a fundamental part of the stadium tax deal. Pepper also relies upon a new ticket tax from ticket sales at the two stadiums to close the gap, but fails to mention that these two revenue sources will not pay for the estimated $30 million annual Stadium Fund deficit. Pepper could not find a second vote for his fundamentally dishonest plan.
So, Commissioners Portune and Pepper have decided to pursue a sales tax increase to fund the Stadium Fund deficit. It is on four separate sales tax increase proposals that they are having public hearings this week and next, including two that will again bypass voters.
While Portune and Pepper are playing the same broken record that we can blame Bob Bedinghaus for the fiscal straits of the County, the reality is that Portune and Pepper have significantly worsened the deficit, and did so when they well knew the fund was insolvent.