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BLOG: Mayor Warren’s Fiscal Baby Steps Are Not Enough to Justify Three Property Tax Overrides

Moving Newton Forward's Analysis and Evaluation of Newton's Fiscal Performance Under Mayor Setti Warren's Administration and why we urge a no vote on the three Proposition 2½ override questions.

Newton’s Mayor Setti Warren (D-Newton) has been hailed as a fiscal wunderkind and a breath of fresh air relative to the fiscal profligacy of the David Cohen administration.  Setti Warren was elected Mayor in November 2009 and as part of his campaign, he proposed a “Zero-based budgeting program” in order to address Newton’s financial situation.  Warren hired a new Chief Financial Officer for the city (Maureen Lemieux) in April 2010 and by the end of 2010, Lemieux was providing education to Newton’s department heads about zero-based budgeting. During his first two years as Newton’s Mayor, he has received a significant level of favorable press from the Newton Tab and community leaders with regards to his ability to preserve city services despite eliminating 18 city worker jobs.  Newton’s financial performance under the Warren administration even convinced former override opponents Daniel Fahey and Jeff Seideman to support the three overrides totaling $11,400,000 that are scheduled to be voted on March 12th, even though the Warren Administration has generated three straight years of deficit spending from 2010-2012 according to Newton’s CAFR reports.

The override consists of two parts, a general operating override that results in a permanent increase in the city’s tax base and a debt exclusion override that increases the city’s tax base temporarily by a specific time period.  Newton voters will be going to the polls on March 12th to vote on an $8,400,000 permanent increase in the city’s annual tax base as part of a general operating override and a $3,000,000 temporary increase in the city’s annual tax base as part of two debt exclusion overrides.  Here is what the override proceeds will be ostensibly used for if the three overrides are passed by the voters:

  • $4,500,000 in the general operating override will go toward funding teachers and other costs associated with the growth in enrollment in the schools.
  • $1,000,000 in the general operating override will be allocated on an annual basis for paving the city’s streets and sidewalks.
  • $500,000 in the general operating override will be allocated to fund the salaries and benefits associated with hiring four new police officers and other costs required to control the increase in traffic in the city.
  • $1,700,000 in the general operating override will be set aside on an annual basis to pay for the debt service for adding new classrooms onto the Zervas Elementary School,
  • $700,000 in the general operating override will be used for relocating the Fire Department Wires Division and replacing the Fire Department headquarters and Fire Station 3 in Newton Centre.
  • $3,000,000 will be set aside as part of two 30 year debt exclusion overrides in order to build new Angier and Cabot elementary schools

Although we at Moving Newton Forward agree with Messrs. Fahey and Seideman that Setti Warren and his administration have been better fiscal stewards of Newton’s financials than the David Cohen administration, we disagree with them with regards to changing our minds and supporting the override.  Just because the two leading opponents of David Cohen’s 2008 override have decided to support this override doesn’t mean that we will support this override any more than we would jump off a bridge because well-known investors like Warren Buffett and Whitney Tilson have decided to do so.  Messrs. Fahey and Seideman do not speak for us because they are giving credit when credit isn’t due to Setti Warren’s record.  Even with Warren’s fiscal reforms, Newton’s annual general fund expenditures have increased from $287,527,155 in FY 2010 (when Warren first began serving as Mayor) to $298,001,862 in FY 2012, which is an increase of almost $10.5M during this period.  The Mayor’s Budget for FY 2013 is expected to boost general fund spending to $312,029,964.

We concede that Setti Warren’s $10.5M increase in annual general fund spending over the last two years is less than the $83.3M increase that the Cohen administration incurred from 2002 to 2010.  We have noted that Warren’s average annual general fund spending increases has been nearly $5.25M, which is almost half of the $10.4M increase in spending from 2002 to 2010 under David Cohen.  And we can see that Warren’s compounded annual spending increase of 1.8% from 2010 to 2012 is dramatically lower than the 4.4% annual increase from 2002-2010 under the Cohen administration.  However, we are going to vote against the override because Setti Warren and his administration have increased annual spending by $10.4M on top of the $83.3M in annual spending increases that were pushed through under Mayor David Cohen.

While the mayor’s fiscal reforms have been an acceptable first step in comparison to David Cohen’s record of fiscal folly, we believe that there is more to be done to whip Newton into fiscal fitness.  At the January City Hall Meeting between Mayor Warren and the Newton Republicans, it was mentioned that 80% of Newton’s budget is utilized for wages, salaries and other government employee benefits.  When we consider that Newton’s general fund budget for 2013 is $312M, if we were to reduce the amount of Newton’s budget devoted to employee compensation by 4%, this would provide a sufficient level of freed up funding to underwrite the initiatives touted by the pro-override group without having to raise taxes on Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Taxpayer. 

We believe that if Mayor Warren and his team have wrung out all the fiscal waste, shrinkage and other spending on non-value-added activities, the city would not need to put an override on the ballot and areas we believe the city can cut back will be the subject of future reports.  Although we expect the city government to discharge its duties in managing the city in the most efficient manner and we have no intention of micromanaging city affairs, we believe that there are areas that the city can cut back on and we will offer such ideas in order to answer the question “So where would you cut?!”

Override supporters have tried to suggest that Newton’s fiscal problems happened with a different mayor.  We respond by pointing out that 70% of Newton’s current aldermen had served under the previous mayor.  Override supporters have tried to interject that Newton’s fiscal profligacy happened in the past.  Unfortunately, we are paying for it in the present and the override supporters want us taxpayers to pay more in the future as well.  But we think Ward Three’s At-Large Alderman Greer Tan Swiston (R-Newton) said it best when she said that Newton taxpayers have been reeling from all the financial waste of the past, despite it being “water under the bridge”. It’s their “water” that was washed under the bridge, very much against their wishes and despite their efforts to fight it and it still stings. 

In conclusion, we have reinforced our decision to vote no on the override.  We understand that a portion of the increased debt and spending expenses that have impacted Newton’s finances were due to the Taj Ma-High School known as the new Newton North High School building.  We respect that Setti Warren and his administration have made a number of changes at the margin in order to reduce Newton’s spending rate growth.  However, we are concerned that these changes were only made in order to drum up support for a tax override.  We think Alderman Lisle Baker said it best when he said “My hope is that if this turns out to be successful, we will look at this as a building block and go back to the voters again...for the resources we need”. 

Lastly, we believe that the Warren Administration’s vaunted “fiscal reforms” are style over substance considering Warren’s increases in spending have resulted in deficit spending during this period even though the town has seen an increase in revenues during this time period and the increased taxes are being used for more spending. The override supporters are making the case for the override based on “needed spending for education, police, the fire department and public works” and our group will be following up this report with at least four additional reports that show that the city of money has spent plenty of money already and doesn’t need to raise more money to pay for gold-plated wages, salaries, pensions and health insurance benefits for government workers.  Furthermore, our group’s case against the override is based on more than reflexive opposition to the Newton North cost overruns.  We at Moving Newton Forward urge Newton residents to vote no on the three Proposition 2½ override questions that will be on the ballot on March 12th, 2013.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Suzanne Rourke February 12, 2013 at 03:21 PM
How refreshing to see the numbers the taxpayers really need to know!
Moving Newton Forward February 12, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Thank you. We've only just begun with our analysis and evaluation of Newton's Finances.
Geoffrey N Epstein February 13, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Here are some corrections to the first post: 1. Newton has to balance its budget, so it cannot deficit spend. 2. The override consists of 3 parts: 2 debt exclusions and an operation override. 3. Talk about spending increases is meaningless without connection it to revenue increases. Projections when Setti came into office had spending increases outpacing revenue increases, creating huge fiscal problems downstream. Setti has addressed this and fixed it so in huge pieces of the city budget, namely contract agreements, spending is constrained by the annual 2.5% property tax increase. This was a huge achievement, cutting projected spending by $180M over the next 6 years. 4. The general fund expenditures increasing from $287,527,155 in FY 2010 (when Warren first began serving as Mayor) to $298,001,862 in FY 2012 are within Prop 2 1/2 constraints. So if you are complaining about that, you are complaining about the the increases allowed by Prop 2 1/2. 5. Dan Fahey and Jeff Seideman are consistent, constructive fiscal critics. Their opinion truly matters a great deal. They have seen huge improvements in fiscal policy and in the value we tax payers get for our money and are simply, honestly and forthrightly acknowledging that. 6. The city and schools have carried out a myriad of improvements to get better value for money. I'm sure they would welcome suggestions. That is not micromanaging, it's engaging with government in a productive manner.
Geoffrey N Epstein February 13, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Typo fix: Operating override - not operation override.
Moving Newton Forward February 13, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Here are some corrections to Geoff Epstein's Post: 1. With Regards to Point One, we found that Newton's General Fund Expenditures exceeded General Fund Revenues in 2012. http://www.newtonma.gov/civicax/filebank/documents/46185 2. With regards to "The override consists of 3 parts: 2 debt exclusions and an operation override." We thought we covered that in our report when we said "$8,400,000 permanent increase in the city’s annual tax base as part of a general operating override and a $3,000,000 temporary increase in the city’s annual tax base as part of two debt exclusion overrides." 3. With Regards to Point 3, talk about revenue increases is meaningless without connection to city population growth. Newton's population has only increased by 3.5% according to the US Census since 2000 yet general fund expenditures have increased by 51% during that time period. 4. With regards to Point 4, if annual General Fund Expenditures had not increased by nearly $10.5M during Mayor Warren's administration, then there would not be a need for an override in order to fund these initiatives. 5. With regards to Point 5, We found it amusing that Messrs Fahey and Seideman are supporting the overrides even though general spending has increased by 17.75% from 2008 to 2013. 6. With Regards to Point 6, We will be addressing areas to free up funds other than raising taxes through three tax hikes.
Geoffrey N Epstein February 13, 2013 at 09:37 PM
1. You are going to have to explain that a whole lot better. It seems like you are implying that we are spending more than we take in which is not true. We balance the budget each year. 2. All set. 3. Again Proposition 2 1/2 applies to our property tax revenue which, apart from new growth, rises by 2.5% each year, so of course one expects revenue to rise each year. That accounts for most of the 51% you quote. So you are taking issue with our revenue increasing following Prop 2 1/2. I don't see the point. Also, our taxes are based on property values not population. So that population connection argument is very rocky. 4. Same as 3. 5. Same as 3. 6. I look forward to the details of this! It seems to me that overall you are complaining that our spending is rising as our revenues rise.
Moving Newton Forward February 13, 2013 at 10:42 PM
1. We didn't imply anything. We merely pointed out that Newton's General Fund expenditures exceeded its revenues in FY 2012. 3. If spending growth had been in line with the 2.5% growth associated with Proposition 21/2, spending growth would have only been 31% rather than 51%. That would have been a savings of $38M and would have been able to cover the $11.4M sought by override supporters, as well as set aside funds for other projects to be used when needed. 4. Our answers in Points 3 and 5 would be a good rebuttal to your responses in Points 3 through 5. 5. "5. Same as 3." Actually, if general fund spending only increased by 2.5% annually, Newton's general fund expenditures would have only increased by 13.14% instead of 17.75%. That would have resulted in Newton's General Fund Expenditures rising from $265M in 2008 to $299.8M in 2013, instead of the $312M that Mayor Warren has proposed. That would have resulted in reduced spending of $12.2M, which would have covered the $11.4M sought by the override. 6. We look forward to sharing it with the Newton community. "It seems to me that overall you are complaining that our spending is rising as our revenues rise." Actually, we're not happy that Newton's spending has grown as a faster rate than the combined rate of Prop 2.5 limits and Newton's population growth.
Geoffrey N Epstein February 13, 2013 at 10:49 PM
I think you are omitting new growth. New construction, rehabs bump the numbers up. Population growth does not directly affect the tax base. It's a red herring. Our spending is completely in line with Prop 2.5 limits.
Moving Newton Forward February 14, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Geoff, we're never going to agree because we are of two different mindsets. You are of the mindset that the city should increase its spending at the maximum levels permitted to pay huge pay raises and pensions to government workers and then when the city needs to spend money on its physical assets, they can ask the taxpayers to pay more money. We believe that Newton shouldn't spend what it spent simply "because it could". We would have set aside any revenue in excess of the 2.5% baseline targeted revenue growth that is implied with Proposition in order to fund the infrastructure spending programs override supporters trot out without forcing taxpayers to pay more money. Three years of 2.86% annual spending growth under Mayor Warren (2010-13) has been added to eight years of 4.4% annual spending growth From 2002-2010 (From the time of the 2002 override to the end of Mayor Cohen's administration. We came from a meeting with Mayor Warren and we were made aware of the fact that 80% of the city's general fund spending (84% of the school department's general fund spending) is for salaries and benefits. If city workers had to take a pay freeze for two years, that would free up the same amount of funds to fund the override initiatives as your three extravagantly expensive tax overrides.
Geoffrey N Epstein February 14, 2013 at 06:00 PM
I'm of the mindset that Prop 2 1/2 is what we abide by. You want Prop 0. I want to execute a sound plan with a greatly improved government. You have no credible plan beyond breaking all of the current union contracts.. Here's an allegory for you: OK. So I have this Newton friend with a son who was getting Cs in Junior year: Math, Science, History English. Then he buckled down and is getting As in Math, Science and English but still a C in history. So this Newton friend asked me what I thought about him paying for college for his much improved son. Should he make an investment now his son is on the right track? I said yes he should. Then I thought about it and said: “But if you were a Newton NO voter, you would discount the As and focus on the C in history. You, as a Newton NO voter would not invest in the future till the present is perfect. No Newton NO voters would ever send such a laggard to college.”
Moving Newton Forward February 14, 2013 at 07:41 PM
"I'm of the mindset that Prop 2 1/2 is what we abide by. You want Prop 0." I support Prop 2 1/2. You seem to want Proposition 4. If the overrides pass, Setti Warren's general fund spending growth will be 3.67%, which isn't that far from the David Cohen years that your crowd tells us to forget. "I want to execute a sound plan with a greatly improved government. You have no credible plan" Let us know if you want to walk this statement back because we have alternative ideas to raising money other than tax overrides. In fact, the Boston Globe-Democrat has asked us that very same question. "beyond breaking all of the current union contracts.." We were under the impression the current labor contracts were expiring around 2014 or 2015. The new contracts would have 0% pay freezes for the first 2 years so as to accommodate the new spending programs you all seek. Or you could have 1% pay raises for the first three years. "Here's an allegory for you:" Actually a more appropriate description of Newton Fiscal Situation would be the kid (Newton's Fiscal Record) who got D-'s in his freshman year (Mayor Cohen 2009), then steadily improved over the next three years & reached a C+ in his senior year (Mayor Warren 2013) and demanded that we pay for him to attend Harvard University. We had the privilege of meeting with Mayor Warren and he said that he and his team have more to do. As such we feel he should come back when he's an A student, not a C+ student.
Geoffrey N Epstein February 14, 2013 at 09:39 PM
OK. I think we are now arguing past each other. The final thing I will say,as a parent whose son will graduate from Newton North this year, is that when I move into the category of resident with no kids in the schools, the quality of the city and schools will remain vitally important to me. The investment of around $300/year in increased taxes in this override will be one of the best I could ever make to ensure that the value of my house, as one of my principal assets, remains high. Just a 1% drop in the value of a $600,000 house is $6,000. That is 20 times the override cost. That calculation remains the same for any property in Newton. The override represent a rare opportunity to make an investment which will see a huge return in future years. If the city keeps moving on the upswing, with improved infrastructure, services and a sound education system, it is not unreasonable to expect that over the next 10 years, your property will improve in value by 10%. In that scenario, the return on investment for the override will be a factor of 20. If the override does not pass, I expect the school buildings to continue to deteriorate and we will be way over capacity so the key asset which attracts new families to the city will be substantially damaged. With lower demand for housing, property values may well flat line. $300 is a remarkable hedge to protect real estate value.
Moving Newton Forward February 14, 2013 at 10:57 PM
"The final thing I will say,as a parent whose son ...." One of our senior outreach officers works as a realtor and he pointed out that Sharon has higher property tax rates and lower median property values. "The investment of around $300/year in increased taxes" If a person took the $343 median tax increase and invested in a high quality portfolio of stocks and bonds over a 30 year period with a 12% expected return, that $343/year would be worth $82,777 at the end of 30 years. "If the override does not pass, I expect the school buildings to continue to deteriorate ... With lower demand for housing, property values may well flat line." "with improved infrastructure, services and a sound education system" We have no problem with the spending programs, we believe that Newton should steadily reduce its compensation proportion of the budget from 80% to 76%. If compensation growth for government workers were reduced to 1% annually in the next contract, it would be enough to reduce the compensation proportion to 76.5% and would free up enough funds to replace this override as well as any additional overrides Lisle Baker is baking up. http://www.movingnewtonforward.org/proposals/proposals.htm That's exactly what the pro-override side said in 2008. The scare tactics don't work anymore.
Geoffrey N Epstein February 14, 2013 at 11:19 PM
Wow! Let me know where you are getting those 12% returns! However, compare that unlikely portfolio scenario, with my $300 invested in the city and bringing me a 1% increase in property value based on the city being first rate. I leverage the $600,000 investment in my house. At 1% I'll easily beat your investment. Passed your 30 year result at the 15 year mark for sure. People's houses are their big assets and they can sit there making no money. Bad return! The override presents a rare opportunity to leverage that big home investment. ON COMPENSATION: I'm sure that in the private sector engineers would hardly be flocking to any company which is reducing compensation as it's only strategy for product improvement. We have constrained union contracts to 2.5%, which was our big achievement. That was our compensation move. Now we need to improve our product and catch up to other cities and towns which are running past us with sound management (which we now have) and judicious debt exclusion overrides (which we have never done) and operating overrides tied to clear improvements in services (which we are arguing for now). This override package is an outstanding example of real problem solving that will move this city and school system solidly up the excellence curve.
Moving Newton Forward February 14, 2013 at 11:58 PM
With regards to your investment strategy, we'll leverage the household equity in the home to invest in the market. While you are happy with your 1%, we'll have the 1% from the home and the 12% from the market. As for compensation, check out our most recent report http://newton.patch.com/blog_posts/what-if-the-city-of-newton-was-a-company
Geoffrey N Epstein February 15, 2013 at 01:02 AM
It is not true that property values are independent of perceptions on how well a city is run and how good a school system is. If the operating override fails we shall see school system cuts each year very much like we did from 2004-2008 and if you look at: http://www.zillow.com/local-info/MA-Newton-home-value/r_40013/#metric=mt%3D34%26dt%3D1%26tp%3D6%26rt%3D8%26r%3D40013%26el%3D0 you'll see what is in store. Property values in Newton appear to have started rising around the time Setti took office. But of course Zillow is just one data source. Plus if the debt exclusions fail, we kiss good bye $27 million of state funding and we'll have to spend even more money on Angier and Cabot as they continue to fall apart. What a future for our kids! Only 2 classrooms at Angier are large enough to meet current state minimum standards on classroom space! I'm betting on Newton with my investment strategy!
Moving Newton Forward February 15, 2013 at 05:00 AM
"If the operating override fails we shall see school system cuts each year very much like we did from 2004-2008 and if you look at:" School system general fund spending went up from $126M in 2004 to $158M in 2008. Maybe you need to go back to school and learn to read financial statements. http://www.newtonma.gov/civicax/filebank/documents/37254 Where exactly did Newton cut school spending? http://www.newtonma.gov/civicax/filebank/documents/37254 As for your Zillow link, take a look at Sharon's property value. I don't want Newton's tax rate converging with Sharon's because that means that Newton's property values will converge with Sharon's. http://www.zillow.com/local-info/MA-Town-of-Sharon-home-value/r_397583/ "Plus if the debt exclusions fail, we kiss good bye $27 million of state funding and we'll have to spend even more money on Angier and Cabot as they continue to fall apart." Nothing's stopping you and your people from contributing $300 annually to the Newton Schools Foundation.
Geoffrey N Epstein February 15, 2013 at 05:21 AM
1. We had about $14M in NPS cuts from 2004 to 2008. You can examine the NPS budget documents. Look for program cuts and staff reductions. 2. Food service revamp; SPED restructuring - each saved about $1M/year 3. The Sharon comment is a non-sequitur. 4. Our state tax dollars fund the state school building program. We should get our fair share back to invest in our buildings. I would like to see my state tax dollars at work in Newton. 5. The NSF does not fund buildings or teachers.
Moving Newton Forward February 15, 2013 at 01:43 PM
http://www.newtonma.gov/civicax/filebank/documents/39241 1. Then why does Comptroller Wilkinson's Budgetary Basis Financial Reports show that NPS general fund spending rose from $126M in 2004 to $152.8M in 2008 (Page 9). http://www.newtonma.gov/civicax/filebank/documents/37254 2. And yet education spending has still climbed from $163M in 2010 to $178M in FY 2013 3. The Sharon comment was relevant because Sharon has a higher property tax rate than Newton and we can see that higher property tax rates hinder real estate values 4. Maybe if the city had invested in proper maintenance of its elementary schools instead of giving big salary boosts to city employees, maybe the schools would be in better conditions. 5. 11,114 people voted for David Cohen's 2008 override. If each pro-override voter was willing to pay the extra $343 in median property tax hikes that will come about because of this override, the city would still generate $3.8M in increased revenue: That would fund the following infrastructure spending programs: $1.3M for Cabot $1.7M for Zervas $.7 for Fire Department Upgrades
Moving Newton Forward February 15, 2013 at 01:46 PM
$.7M for Fire Department Upgrades
Geoffrey N Epstein February 15, 2013 at 04:11 PM
1. You cannot talk about spending without talking about revenues. Revenues are limited by Prop 2 1/2. Spending = revenues since we balance the budget. Therefore spending is limited by Prop 2 1/2. It's that simple. 2. Same as 1 but now note that we have contracts aligned with Prop 1 1/2 for the first time ever. 3.Connecting property values with tax rates cannot hinge on one data point. Show me a scatter plot of tax rates v. property values and we'll have something solid to discuss. 4. Past practice under prior administrations was poor. We have a new team in place making progress and worth investing in. Plus Angier has only 2 classrooms which meet current state space standards. Real need for change there independent of maintenance issues. 5. Mathematically true but not helpful. Again people have all kinds of ways they could spend $300 each year. I remain convinced that spending that on 3 updated schools, extra teachers and short term space for the incoming wave of students, roads and the police and fire departments is the best value in town.
Moving Newton Forward February 15, 2013 at 09:24 PM
1. "You cannot talk about spending without talking about revenues." I want to talk about not spending money on big pay raises and deferring maintenance and capital investments for infrastructure. "Spending = revenues since we balance the budget." Not in 2012. General Fund Spending exceeded revenues and the city needed to issue $10M in additional bonded indebtedness 2. Then why has spending increased by 2.86% from 2010 to 2013? 3. Yes, but the median property tax bill for Newton is similar to the median property tax bill for Sharon even though Sharon's property values are lower than Newton's. 4. "Past practice under prior administrations was poor. We have a new team in place making progress and worth investing in." Yes, but Newton taxpayers are still paying for the fiscal follies of the past and you want us to pay more in the future. 5. "Mathematically true but not helpful. Again people have all kinds of ways they could spend $300 each year. I remain convinced that spending that on 3 updated schools, extra teachers and short term space for the incoming wave of students, roads and the police and fire departments is the best value in town." Then show us what a great value it is by taking the first step yourself, rather than forcing everyone else to. We can think of $11M reasons why you shouldn't talk about Angier, $18M why you shouldn't talk about Cabot and $23M reasons why you shouldn't talk about Zervas.
Geoffrey N Epstein February 15, 2013 at 11:06 PM
1. Where are these big pay raises going forward. I don't see any. 1'. I agree we should not defer capital investments for infrastructure, so we should support all of the 3 school projects and therefore all 3 questions on the override. 1''. So any bond issue violates your principles? 2. Following Prop 2 1/2. 3. Don't see the relevance. 4. Invest in a new team which is performing well. Don't punish them for the sins of prior teams. 5. But few which will yield a 20x return. That's why we debate and then vote. This time I want to vote YES to solve problems not kick the can down the road or pray for a miracle to spare us the pain we'll visit on our children with a NO vote.
Harry Sanders February 16, 2013 at 02:57 AM
OK, as one on the 2008 override opposition team I recall how the threats from the then Cohen administration was such that should the override fail we would see a dramatic decline in our property values. That didn't happen. We as taxpaying voters were locked out from ever voting for the overbuilt $200 million high school. That did happen. The consortium of moral obligation bond structuring strategy lead by Cohen & Sandy Pooler engaged in insulting the taxpayer, hoodwinking the current Warren administration. Has the Warren administration ever fessed up that the financially excessive bonding left insufficient reserve funding for staff and operational budgetary needs? That didn't happen. So maybe, just maybe, this whole override hinges on a confidence vote in the Mann himself - will this happen?
Moving Newton Forward February 16, 2013 at 06:32 PM
Harry, based on your comments, I'd like to paraphrase William F. Buckley's quote about how he'd rather be governed by the first 2,000 names of the Boston phone book than by 2,000 past and present university professors. Your comments encapsulate everything that needs to be said to the pro-override crowd.
Harry Sanders February 16, 2013 at 08:22 PM
Without expressing an opinion as to what side of the override you might assume I am on, I believe the override package goes beyond the money aspect and is better addressed in construct of principle. Taxpayer voters entrust their future, their children and their grand childrens' future in the executive leader's ability. This override package is more about constituent faith in the mayor than it is about the money - taxpayers will naturally dig deeper into their pockets for a leader they trust and believe in. This override election is about whether or not the mayor's 2009 election has delivered on campaign promises made, offsetting any of the disappointments constituents remember. There really has not been a citywide testing of voter confidence in the mayor since then. Has he delivered on full transparency, honesty, and integrity in the Hall? 2009 Did he get by Ruth Balser not so much for his charisma, charm, level-headedness,and vision - or for his not being a continuum of Cohen's moral obligation misgivings?? stay tuned..

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