Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A False Choice at the Sports Complex

Yesterday, in his attempt to imitate a classic National Lampoon cover, the mayor sought to pit public safety against sports in a town that has no reason to brag about either. "Every dime spent at the ballpark means a better chance someone will crawl in your window" seemed to be the regrettable message from Hizzoner. But the choice between major league sports and public safety - especially when it comes down to $2 million of a $1.5 billion budget - is a false one. It's false because there is no dollar-for-dollar tie between the two budgets, and, as has been pointed out, the KC earnings tax is virtually the only way to (forcibly) share the responsibility of the stadiums and the teams with the JoCotians. Nobody mentioned increased efficiencies or other balancing mechanisms. Instead, the mayor chose the easy way with the cute alliteration of a "choice between . . . families and football" etc.

And yesterday's episode was yet another unfortunate example of the black hole that overlays 12th Street between Oak and Locust - communication between the City and the County is virtually non-existant, left to play out in competing press conferences and the blogs.


Dan said...

Pat - I understand that to some people, $2,000,000 is chicken feed, but the city really needs the money. And, when you're looking at cutting the police budget, there is very much a dollar for dollar tie between money spent for public safety (which is likely to be cut) and money donated to the County without any obligation to do so.

As for the communication issue, I can agree that perhaps it could have been handled differently, but, really, would it have made any difference to you or anyone if he had hired a town crier? What method of communication would have made the County realize that the City is not in a position to give away two million tax dollars?

Anonymous said...

The total disconnect for Funkhouser is that he somehow doesn't realize that the county ships almost $6.5 million DISCRETIONARY dollars to the city every year in just two programs (COMBAT almost $3,000,000 to cops, and in the CURS road and bridge fund, almost $3,500,000). The county has NO obligation to give the city these dollars, but still does so based upon oral "promises" by previous administrations.

My point? If Sanders wanted to play the same game as Funk of "hey, I didn't make that promise so I'm not going to honor it," the city would be out a net of over $4.5 million. Thus, city governemnt is a HUGE net winner in the revenue swap game and is VERY lucky that Funk didn't succeed.

As a resident of KC, I am glad about two things: (1) That we have a council smart enough to do the math and see that the path Funk was treading would have been a huge financial loss for the city, and (2) That Sanders didn't jump at the chance to take away all cash transfers between the two governemnts thus giving him an extra $4.5 million to play with to balance the county's budget.

Anonymous said...

In most circles, except political, the action would be considered retaliatory. But that is after all the way it's always been in JaCo.

So why bring the Combat taxes into the mix when you know that KC residents pay for that too? You mean JaCo isn't above playing politics with our tax money?

Give a politician twenty bucks and they will used it like a "quick change artist"

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