Monday, May 14, 2018

Nashville Police Union rakes Briley over the coals. Here is the video.

by Rod Williams - This is almost painful to watch.  I am not a fan of David Briley but I feel sorry for him in this video.  It is a video of his May 1 appearance before the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police seeking their endorsement in the upcoming election. He did not get the endorsement. The police are not happy.

Last year the Metro Council voted to give Metro employees a three percent cost of living increase but they are not going to get it.  Metro's income is significantly less than anticipated.  Briley says his two highest priorities in developing the budget was to fund the cost of living increase and to give metro schools their budget request and he regrets not being able to do either. He also says he was committed to not raising taxes this year.

He is challenged on his decision not to seek a tax increase. One person ask him way he is so opposed to raising taxes when he just backed the transit plan which would have imposed a massive regressive tax on those least able to afford it. Briley has no good answer. I think it was a good question. (This questioning starts at timestamp 6:21 in the video.)

Why, in fact, won't Briley propose raising taxes this year? He has not made a pledge not to raise taxes next year, so why not just raise them now?  The obvious answer is political. A proposal to raise property taxes at the same time the tax referendum to fund a transit plan was on the ballot would have doomed the transit plan which, of course, failed anyway.  Also, proposing a tax increase now would hurt Briley's election chances in the upcoming mayor's race.

Metro is going to have to raise taxes or cut spending. While it seems every city always wants to grow, growth does not pay for itself.  Larger cities generally have higher taxes.  With growth comes more congestion, crime, social problems and demand for services.  Unless city leaders have a vision and commitment to keep taxes low, taxes increase.

While I support Carol Swain in the upcoming mayor's race, I hope she resist the temptation to promise everybody they will get all they want. Employees cannot get a cost of living raise and schools get their full funding request unless taxes are increased or cuts are made elsewhere. I favor cuts made elsewhere but also do not assume a 3% cost of living increase is necessarily justified nor do I assume Metro Schools should get everything they ask for. The Schools should not be exempt from scrutiny and seeking increased efficiency.

There are places budgets could be cut. For long term control of government spending, Metro's employee pension plan should be changed from a guaranteed benefit plan to a guaranteed contribution plan, Metro General Hospital is a relic of the days prior to medicaid and should be closed, every position and every function within government should be examined to eliminate waste, services than can be privatized should be privatized, Metro must make policy and personnel changes to get control of the runaway cost of police and firemen overtime pay, the Human Relations Commission which serves little purpose other than to promote political correctness should be abolished, and the city should eliminate its funding of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Either spending must be cut or taxes must be increased. That is an obvious fact. Doing either calls for leadership.

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