To put the daily waste of money into some context, COAST steps back to provide some perspective as to what taxpayers can expect over the coming 24 months on the budgetary front in the State, Hamilton County and City of Cincinnati. It is not a pretty picture. In fact, the tax-and-spend worst is yet to come from our state and local leaders thanks to indiscipline.
In Columbus, the state is facing an $8 billion deficit during the coming biennial. In Hamilton County, the general fund is broke, and deficits in the Stadium Fund approaching $10 million per year start next year. In the City of Cincinnati, the City closed a $40 million deficit with a series of accounting gimmicks and by draining its reserves. Still, the City has yet to address an $800 million deficit in its pension funds.
With the economy remaining depressed, the faint hope of increased revenues simply will not begin to make up for the huge fiscal holes that exist in each of these budgets. And worse, during the 2009 and 2010 budget battles, lawmakers in the State, County and City have shown no courage to fundamentally restructure the way government does business to assure that the burden on taxpayers will not increase. Indeed, both Democrats and some Republicans seem willing to once again embrace massive tax hikes to solve their budget problems.
Unless we elect leaders willing to tackle these structural problems in government, and scale back at a very fundamental level what we expect government to do, the 2010 and 2011 fiscal solutions are limited to massive tax increases.
However, when your lawmaker tells you “we had no choice,” understand that indeed they did, and they refused to accept the alternative.