As cities trim budgets during the recession, elected officials across the Valley are taking a second look at their own expenses.Many, even most, of the municipal officials who have prescribed cuts to their own salaries (where possible; in Scottsdale, for example, the salaries of the mayor and city council are hard-written into the municipal code here and cannot be readily changed) are...you might want to sit down...wait for it...
The Tempe mayor and City Council refused a 3.5 percent scheduled pay increase. Gilbert town officials are considering changes to council perks such as mileage reimbursements. And when Mesa's municipal workers took a 2 percent pay cut, so did elected officials.
While council and mayoral budgets are often small compared with multimillion-dollar citywide budgets, some officials say it is important to give their own spending scrutiny to show support for municipal employees.
Most of them are utterly wrong on most issues, but they've got this one right - if they are going to impose huge cuts in services and layoffs of many of the people who actually provide services to the public, it's only right that they share some of the pain.
So, what have their ideological brethren in the lege done to demonstrate that they understand the pain that their budget proposals inflict on the average state worker and the average Arizonan?
Every budget proposal that they've tried to railroad through the lege contains huge cuts for every agency and the Attorney General's office. Even last week, Jack Harper (R-Surprise!) tried to amend the latest failed proposal to include a blanket 5% RIF of state employees.
What haven't they attempted to cut?
The budgets of...
The State Treasurer
The Secretary of State
The Superintendent of Public Instruction
and, of course, The Arizona State Legislature itself.
Of course2, this makes one thing obvious - when the Republicans in the legislature are finally serious about balancing the budget, they might just signal that intent by putting out a proposal that has them sharing some of the pain.
Yes, it's apparent that I'm an incurable optimist. :))