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Friday, September 24, 2010 1:33 PM

Privileged Public Union Liars Show Up Begging for Tax Hikes and Handouts

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You can always count on the police (count on them to pick your pocket and say they are doing it for you). The Miami Herald explains the sorry state of affairs in Commission starts budget debate.

In January, Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess wrote commissioners that he expected property values to plummet 12 percent, a record drop that would significantly reduce government revenues.

Yet, Burgess -- along with the county mayor and commissioners -- subsequently agreed to give county employees salary and benefit increases totaling $132 million.

Now, to help pay for it, Burgess is asking commissioners to support a tax rate increase on homeowners across Greater Miami that will bring in an additional $178 million in revenue.

As the final budget hearing got under way at 5:14 p.m. [September 23, 2010], county commissioners were staring at what many expected to be a long and contentious night to finalize a new budget and property tax rate.

At the outset, 179 people had signed up to speak at the public hearing and a long line of others waited to sign up in the lobby of County Hall.

A grassroots group of property owners gathered in the ground floor of County Hall shouting ``No more taxes'' and waving signs opposing the proposed tax rate hike. ``We Pay Taxes For Services. Not For Bureaucracy,'' read another sign.

A few feet away, police officers gathered in force to support the proposed budget. ``We've got our contract already. This is not about us.... This is about the residents of the community. We want them to be safe,'' said John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association.

One police officer estimated about 300 police officers and 200 corrections officer had turned out for the session.

Across the hall was an equally strong turnout of county fire-rescue workers in pink T-shirts.

The political stakes spiraled higher Wednesday, when Miami businessman Norman Braman -- who has a history of bankrolling fights against county government -- declared his intention to support and finance a recall campaign against the mayor and any commissioners who support a tax rate increase.
Turnout of Taxpayers, Turnout of Liars Not Surprising

We should not be surprised by the taxpayer turnout. Nor should we be surprised that the turnout of liars was even bigger. Those who stand to benefit at the expense of others are always the first to have their hands out.

"We've got our contract already. This is not about us."

If ever there was a blatant lie, the statement "This is not about us" ranks right at the top of the list. The police could easily take a pay cut or a benefit cut. Instead they want to suck the taxpayers dry.

Correct Solution is Bankruptcy

On August 30, I stated Miami is bankrupt. I also encouraged residents to show up at the meetings. Please see Bankrupt Miami in Fiscal Emergency, Breaks Employee Contracts, Hikes Property Taxes; What You Can Do for details.

The only way the citizens of Miami can hope to escape the tyranny of the police, other public unions, and government employees in general is for the city to declare bankruptcy. The unions and other public employees can then see what their pensions are worth in bankruptcy court.

Judging from their enormously greedy actions, they deserve nothing.

Support the Recall Campaign

If you live in Miami, please support businessman Norman Braman and his effort to start a recall campaign against the mayor and any commissioners who support any tax rate increase.

Once a recall is out of the way, voters need to elect someone willing to tell the police and fire unions to go to hell. The best way to do that, perhaps the only way to do that is for the city to declare bankruptcy.

Investigate County Manager George Burgess

Finally, I believe it would be appropriate for the district attorney to investigate Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess for misappropriation of public funds and conflicts of interest.

While not on the same scale as what happened in Bell, California (See "Corruption on Steroids" Bell Officials Arrested, Criminal Charges Filed), no one in their right mind could have agreed to give county employees salary and benefit increases totaling $132 million knowing what Burgess did about Miami's dire fiscal situation.

Of course, it is always possible George Burgess is merely insane instead of criminally insane or on the take.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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