. . . city hall is where they might do some good. Union goons, meet Exchequer’s new favorite mayor, Tomás Regalado of Miami. (Technically a non-partisan election; he’s a Republican.)
Miami commissioners are likely to impose contracts on the city’s employee unions that will cut wages and pensions to ease a projected $96.5 million operating- budget gap next fiscal year, Mayor Tomas Regalado said.
“Probably in two weeks the commission will impose a contract whereby we will be reducing salaries and pensions, which is what’s responsible for the deficit,” the first-term mayor said in an interview on Bloomberg Television outside City Hall today.
Miami faces a pension payment exceeding $100 million in the fiscal year that begins Sept. 30, Regalado said, which will consume a fifth of its operating budget. Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s both cut the city’s general- obligation bond ratings in the past two months, citing the deficit and pension costs.
Get that, taxpayers and bond-market watchers: Government workers’ pensions alone will consume 20 percent of the city of Miami’s operating budget. For many states and municipalities, it is going to get a lot worse than that very soon.
Miami has been playing catch-up on its pensions since the Carter administration, when it came to light that the city was using pension funds for general operating expenses. But with a city attorney who is paid $380,000 a year and a deputy — deputy! — fire chief who is paid $353,000 a year, Miami has a long way to go achieving fiscal sanity. (Would you like a list of Miami’s city salaries? It is here. Read it and retch.)
Mayor Regalado does not want to increase taxes; Miami, already among the cities hardest hit by the real-estate crash, really cannot be jacking up property taxes with tens of thousands of vacant condos languishing on the market. So, he’s biting the bullet, cutting the fat where it’s found — in the paychecks of overfed city bureaucrats — and, apparently, trying to do the right thing.
Hope he has an exit strategy.