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Friday, September 21, 2012

Slow ride to a bad place

For cities, he says, social and cultural bankruptcy come long before financial bankruptcy. At first, street cleaning is cut back from once a week to once a month, library hours are cut and some libraries are closed. Street repairs, building maintenance and vehicle maintenance are reduced. Arts and cultural programs are eliminated, park maintenance is cut back and some parks are closed, and community centers are open for fewer hours or shut down. Then come the cuts to public safety as police officers and firefighters are let go. By the time cities declare bankruptcy, services already have declined steeply and the time has come to make really hard choices--pay police or pay creditors?

The whole thing is here.

Comments (15)

Not really a shock - This is SOP for govt - Cut the stuff we want while they spend on what they want.

We may not have cops, or parks, or usable streets, or educated kids, but we'll always have an aerial tram and neon rose on some building by the river, by golly!

Some rather discouraging data today released by the Census Bureau for Oregon. Real mediam household income fell by $2,000/yr last year from year 2010, and Multnomah County suffered the same decline.

Yet Portland city hall and crew seems to care less about the struggling economic fortunes of its citizens. How else can one explain the city starting and funding so-called charities, who seek to force Art on people through the heavy hand of government. Art should come from the heart, and not forced by the heavy hand of government.

Please vote NO on 26-146, the so-called income tax. Half this tax measure's funds are headed to fund the cities surrogate art agency called RACC. RACC is already growing nealy 6% per year, and what's more its administrators are making cushy six figure salary jobs (choosing what is considered Art for us plebs who can't figure it out). As for the kids, maybe if the school district was more judicious in spending its existing revenue it could afford more Art and music teachers. The last contract with teachers allowed benefit costs to rise from just over 50% of salary to 55% while most other folks are seeing their benefits cut. Portlanders were already quite generous to the Schools having passed a operating levy only this past November. The Arts income tax is over-reach.

Tell, Portland City Hall to Fluoridate this: Vote NO on 26-146.

When PR flacks in a government outnumber the auditors by a ratio of 3 to 1 or more, you can be assured that bankruptcy is just around the corner.

"OK, Mayor. We pay the VISA card with the Master Card. Then we can put the car payment on the American Express after we get down under the max. credit limit by using these Discover Card convenience checks to pay the minimum balance on those with our Home Equity Line of Credit... no problem."

Pensions funds are reduced...no wait... ;o)

The average citizen just continues to take the hits while urban renewal continues, fat cat developers continue to be on the take, non-sustainable streetcar systems are built, bicyclists continues a to have a free ride not paying user fees for the specialized infrastructure they clamor for, garbage pickup cost more while the service is reduced, fluoride is added to the water, The Hose Guy uses the water bureau as his own slush fund, Sammyboy wants a head tax to subsidize the non-profit organizations of his choosing thereby picking winners and losers, and all the while, there is a constant chipping away of the freedom supposedly guaranteed in the US Constitution.

This is what happens when you let the kids run your household budget.

TR - I too, am accused of being "negative" when I espouse these truths.

But when one spends every waking hour trying to legally comply with the madness that defines living in Portland it's all you can think about.

I found the statement that Municipal bond ratings are a lagging indicator of a city's finances of great interest. Maybe the next time some loudmouth at City Hall starts spouting about the City's alleged AAA Bond rating, that should be pointed out to them. Also, the rolling over of City debt into yet another bond; a pretty clear indication that debt will not be getting paid off anytime soon.
Thank heaven we moved to Reno/Sparks where we have decent roads, well maintained parks and weekly trash service.

So when will they install the toll collection devices for those of us driving into or through Portland?

Will transit users,bike riders, and pedestrians have to pay, too?

Right behind you Dave A. And as soon as I get to the Silver state, THEN I'll start drawing down my 401k money. Not before.

Bond ratings tell you virtually nothing about whether or not a city is on the verge of service-level insolvency. A government's bond rating is a lagging indicator of its financial condition. Waiting for a downgrade to adopt more prudent financial practices is like waiting until your car slams into a tree before you hit the brakes.

Dave A.,
I read that too, and copied the paragraph. That last sentence is very telling for those who think our ratings are still OK.
I am glad you like Reno, interesting to get updates from you on the area. Things have really gotten worse since you left.

Back to our elected officials. I think children in school would know better than to debt swamp our city and all the other policies that make our life here less livable.

But, but, but....

We're Platinum Leed certified, gluten free, locally sourced, bike/walk/bus hipster progressives.

There's no way WE could go bankrupt: we'd just pass a new tax on the wealthy.

"A city is insolvent when it has to reduce services below this "market" level-what San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed refers to as "service-level insolvency." Cities compete for businesses and residents. Providing services at levels lower than the market level will drive residents and businesses away, reducing the tax base and further aggravating the deteriorating financial condition."

The author just said that cities are businesses too. Service poor and prices high? The customers vote with their feet and the city no longer makes a 'profit'. Bam! Out of business!

Prof Jack, if you didn't have such religious devotion to being kinda lefty, you would soon become a convert to Libertarianism.

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