As I read and listen to what Dave has to say I keep thinking I might be able to figure out what he is talking about. He really has me fooled with his budget 101. While he talks as though he is trying to get some important information out he still does not tell you the whole story.
Take his budget briefing on the January 2011 budget. I pointed out several errors last blog that were indicators of how Dave needs to spend some more time with someone who knows something about county budgeting. Some of the line items in his handout just do not add up.
On the expense side of the handout he shows that the line item for the Tax Appraisal Office is more than 40,000 dollars over budget. Dave, the county pays the appraisal district on a quarterly basis, just like the other entities do. Therefore, with the first quarter payment of $58,969.98 being made the county is in fact right on budget.
Similar examples are also in other line items in the handout. Ambulance is quarterly and fire protection is a one time a year payment. So if you take Dave’s figures as accurate the budget won’t be right till December.
Of course he could be simply setting the taxpayers up for the tax increase that lies ahead for the 2012 budget. He might be following the role model of his Austin mentors in trying to use a smoke and mirrors technique so that’s when it is all said and done he can blame someone else for the budget increase.
I have written before about how what happens in Austin will affect us in Milam County. Well hang on folks cause it ain’t gonna be pretty. Last Thursday Senator Troy Fraser spoke to a group of rural County Judges and basically said that dedicated funds were going to be reorganized in the budget and placed in general revenue. Another term for this maneuver is sweeping.
Well that is exactly what your representatives in Austin are going to do in an effort to balance the budget. To me a better term for this sweeping action would be misappropriation of funds. Senator Fraser told the group the state was going to sweep 911 and other dedicated funds to be used in balancing the budget. They will continue to collect the 50 cents per phone line fee under the auspices of 911 funding, but the money will actually be going to the general revenue of the state.
So what does this mean to us as taxpayers? We get to foot the bill if we want to see 911 services continue in the county. There are going to be a lot of other services, if continued, that will be picked up by the local taxpayer as well. Senior citizens, MHMR and many other programs are going to be hard hit.
As the governor continues to define voter id and sonograms as emergencies you have to wonder when they are going to get around to the real emergency at hand. You can be sure of one thing whatever comes out of Austin will cost us on the local basis.
So maybe there is a method to Dave’s madness. Maybe his plan is just like Austin’s. To bring on the smoke and mirrors and try to make us think all is well or at the least find somebody else to blame the problems on.