Why does the Mandel, Schnirman and others in the administration keep changing the city's deficit numbers? What are some factual figures taxpayers can have so they can better understand the city's financial situation and the city's recently enacted additional taxes, borrowing, hirings, and spending?
At meeting after meeting City Manager Jack Schnirman and Council Member Scott Mandel have made presentations on the city's fiscal problems that make little sense to the average taxpayer and often leave some more confused than before. Mandel, Schnirman and Company have said they have made significant cuts in the budget and they have reigned in spending, but because the deficit was so bad they were forced to exceed the state imposed 2% tax cap and raise taxes twice in 3 months- an unprecedented move in Long Beach politics.
Of course Schnriman, Mandel and Company have spent the last 9 months blaming everyone and doing nothing about the problem. In fact many argue, like Senator Skelos and others, that they have actually made a bad problem much worse.
In an effort to clarity to the matter here are some no-nonsense, simple numbers taxpayers should consider when trying to understand the current state of Long Beach's fiscal problems. Examine these figures, then ask yourself, if you think that Mandel, Schnirman and company have done an adequate job:
- Last year's budget, which was adopted by the prior administration and highly criticized by Mandel, Schnirman and company for "out-of-control spending, totaled $83 million. Schnriman, Mandel and company's 's current budget in $88 million; that is $5 million MORE in spending over last year's "excessive" budget. That's a nearly 5% increase in spending, yet Mandel, Schnriman and company keep trying to tell us they have significantly cut the budget. Its simple math and their numbers don't add up. The fact is they are spending $5 million more than last year's budget.
- Mandel, Schnirman and company exceeded the state imposed 2% property tax cap in the very first year of its existence.
- Mandel, Schnirman and company have raised taxes twice in the past 3 months alone! This is an unprecedented move in Long Beach history!
- Schnriman, Mandel and company keep changing the amount of the deficit. In January at the West End "Long Beach Listen's" meeting Schnirman said at the that the deficit was around $50 million. Then it dropped to between $20-$30 million. Later it dropped to $15 million, then to $10.2 million. A few weeks ago Schnirman said the true number was around $ 6 million, but then in last week's Patch Schnirman was quoted as saying "the deficit now stands at $4.8 million." Why has the number changed so much? Why can't the administration figure out what the number actually is?
- Mandel, Schnriman and company have hired, given raises, or awarded contracts and/or taxpayer funded awards to over 20 people/firms. These jobs, raises, awards, and contracts cost taxpayers over $1.2 million. These hirings were made during a self proclaimed "fiscal crisis" and a self imposed hiring freeze. In fact, last week Mandel, Schnriman and company hired the LB Democrat Party Bosses son to a $45,000/a year job! So while they are laying some they hire other family and friends to city hall jobs. This hiring has been done despite a specific campaign promise not to hire any family and friends to city hall jobs!
- This summer Mandel, Schnriman and company laid off 20 CSEA employees and 5 firefighters. Then, in the past 3 weeks alone, Mandel, Schnirman and company have handed out raises and jobs to numerous employees totaling over $250,000. Again, this was done during a hiring freeze and a "fiscal crisis."
- In the 9 short months since taking office in January, Mandel, Schnirman and company have borrowed over $22 million. That is more than the previous administration borrowed in 8 years! They borrowed $5.6 million this month after already borrowing $6 million in March, $5 million in June, and another $4.43 million in July!
- In 9 short months since taking office in January Mandel, Schnriman and Company have increased the city's debt to over $48 million.
- Mandel, Schnirman and company have increased the city's debt burden by nearly 45% in just 9 months!
This isn't the first time Mandel, Schnirman and the new administration has not been honest with us.. Here'as another small example. Just a few weeks ago city council meetings and specifically in the City's August newsletter Council President Len Torres proudly stated that "this year's fireworks were paid for by private sponsor donations at absolutely no cost to the taxpayers". Torres' statement is simply not true at all because recently obtained documents reveal that the cost of the fireworks was $42,126.08 and the amount collected from sponsors was only $14,500.00. That leaves $23,076.08 left to be paid for by taxpayers. Everyone, including me and my family, loves, wants, looks forward to, and is willing to have our tax dollars pay for annual summer fireworks. So why does President Torres, Mandel, Schnirman, and Adelson, feel like they have to lie to us? Why can't they be honest about the fireworks, the deficit, and their broken promises?
As I have said before Schnirman, Mandel and company can't have it both ways. Either there is a fiscal crisis that requires a hiring freeze because the city can't afford to hire new employees. Or there is no fiscal crisis and the city can afford to hand out jobs, raises, contracts and taxpayer funded awards they way Mandel, Schnirman and company have been doing for the past 9 months!
Long Beach residents want and deserve a government they can trust and one that will be honest with them; a government that will work in a bipartisan manner to solve the city's problems and build a better future for our families and our children. The Mandel and Schnirman administration has demonstrated time and time again that they have not been honest with us. They spend more time scaring us into paying higher property taxes all while the the city's reputation and credit rating is being ruined.
It's time for Schnirman, Mandel and company to stop talking and get to work for the taxpayers of our city. Continuously taxing, borrowing and spending is only going to hurting our city and our residents. Mandel, Schnriman and company need to stop blaming the prior administration and Senator Skelos for their outrageous policy of "tax, borrow, and spend, spend, spend!"