Time for a reasonable revenue increaseby Chris Dugovich, Council 2 President and Executive Director on January 6, 2013
THIS IS THE TIME year when counties and cities are in the process of finalizing the budgets for the next calendar year. Dollars continue to shrink and everyone in their respective jurisdictions can tell you about the individuals who have been laid off and the positions that are left vacant.
Attrition management is the new code phrase for shrinking the size of government that leaves work undone and tasks grinding to a halt.
When a manager or department head has been faced with what have now become multiple years of cuts they are not about to fill a newly vacated position, however essential it may be when another cut is looming around the corner. Next year’s possible cut becomes this year’s real vacancy.
Cuts are real
The cuts that have occurred are real. Since this recession started, bargaining unit membership in the City of Spokane is down by approximately 80, Snohomish County is down over 200 and even small jurisdictions are down — some drastically. In Grays Harbor County the road maintenance department and the courthouse has lost 67 positions. That’s over 25 percent of the workforce. Keep in mind these aren’t supervisors or managers, these are hands-on individuals who maintain roads, sell business licenses and perform all the tasks that make society work.
These real cuts were in spite of the efforts in all these jurisdiction where wage and benefit freezes occurred along with days off without pay to avoid even more severe cuts that would have resulted in deeper losses of services.
All parties have sacrificed and we all know the cuts in the private sector have also been severe. With the end now maybe in sight, there are very few reasons why our elected officials should not be looking at reasonable increases in revenue. Local government services are important and our patience is over for short-sighted politicians who have no problem throwing us under the bus while they make a calculation that further service cuts will preserve their standing with the voters.