Or we could just raise parking fees and forget the whole thing


Or we could just raise parking fees and forget the whole thing

Read this Article. Basically it says that cities are whining because their revenue is down. WOW Da Ja think? Can you believe it, there is a recession and suddenly cities are saying that they don’t have enough tax revenue. I mean, gee, people are spending less so there is less sales tax.

Cities were spending like drunken sailors and suddenly, housing prices go down a bit and they are, OMG, not getting enough revenue to cover their expenses. The solution? Raise fees, taxes, rates, whatever you got.

Let’s see, I run a car company. I sell Belchfire Eight’s. I find that due to the recession, I’m losing money. The solution – immediately I raise the prices of the fabled Belchfire. Guess again.

If I’m smart I do a number of things. First I look at my costs and see what I can do about keeping them in line. Maybe that new start up I was planning should be put off a couple of years. Second I look at the Belchfire – maybe the car I make could be changed a bit to better fit the needs of the folks who might buy it. Three – perhaps I need to look at my marketing and get smart about who uses my product and how I can better reach them. Four – Is it time to go back to my core business. Perhaps that airplane division and the factory making refrigerators need to be closed or sold off to someone who knows how to do it better.

Have you heard any governmental agency even hint at doing any of these things. Let me parse it for you.

  1. How about a goal of reducing costs 10% in every department in the organization. Let them come up with plans to cut CUT CUT. Of course the police department will start with street cops, so there needs to be come emphasis on the 47 deputy chiefs in charge public relations and sustainability and the like.
  2. Are the street department and the library and the schools delivering what we promised? If not, why not? Sometimes we lose sight of why we are here. Are we supposed to teach students or change to social fiber of the country? You get the idea.
  3. Who are the government’s customers? Probably 75% of the populace never use the services provided. (Except maybe the street and water department) So why do we provide them? Is this the right thing to do? Maybe many programs need to be rethought and cancelled and then rejustified.
  4. What is our core business? Should be we be collecting trash? Running recycle programs? Selling Water and power? Running a rapid transit system? Owning Hospitals? Building housing? Or should we get out of the way and spend our time making it easy for private industry to do those things?

Or we could just raise parking taxes and fees and forget the whole thing.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. The problem with government responses to situations like this is that it is always 100% “reactive” because they never do anything “proactive” in anticipation of situations like this. Many private sector companies (parking included) have contingency measures already thought out in the event certain events unfold. With government it’s usually a knee jerk reaction to a sudden onslaught of issues that they had never even considered.
    The other problem is that the structure of a municipal “representative” government makes it almost necessary to have numerous services and programs that cater to a smaller % of the citizenry. If you have 10 council members then each one only represents about 10% of the population. It is the first rule of politics to “give and take” (I’ll give you my vote on your project but I need to get your vote on mine). The individual council districts in effect become the ultimate example of “special interest” groups. It’s no different than how the Fed Govt works (earmarks, pork, etc). Because of this structure we end up with numerous situations like you refer to, city services that only benefit a small % of the population.
    Throw on top of that the fact that many municipal employees are covered by union contracts (especially police and fire), and you have a very difficult road whenever you attempt to make any cuts in services or salaries.
    It’s going to get very ugly in a lot of cities when the cuts start being made. They won’t want to cut a lot of what they will be asked to cut, but the politicians are going to have no choice this time.

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