Sunday, May 4, 2008

SJ Mercury News: Personnel Costs = 2/3 of City Budget

The San Jose Mercury News has published on its front page the scandal that has been occurring local government--see April 15, 2008, "$200,000 club." The article by John Woolfolk states, "Personnel costs [salaries and benefits] account for two-thirds of the city's operating budget, which has been plagued by multimillion-dollar deficits...salaries have grown 38 percent..."

So 2/3 of the taxes we pay that go to the city get put into government workers' pockets. What happened to spending money on private citizens and their children by buying them books, computers, new classrooms, etc.? If we use this money wisely, perhaps we can give every single high school student a laptop at school that is locked to a desk, with different passwords for different students to use. Also, why not implement high-tech security systems to protect children?

There ought to be a law requiring that any government salary increase be voter-approved above certain numbers, say, $99,000, or anything that is more than the consumer price index (CPI) (the downside to setting a specific percentage like a 5% annual target is that by doing so, we'll probably guarantee annual raises of 4.99%). Let us know what we're paying for with our own money, or we'll be hostage to government unions, who seem to increase their salaries year after year, without regard for budgetary constraints.

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