Archive for April, 2012

Balance the Budget w/o Tax Increase

Monday, April 30th, 2012

April 30, 2012

I have been working on gathering information comparing the City of Memphis/Shelby County/MLGW.  I show below the results. The real savings are not in the cost of lunches or travel. The real savings are in the (more…)

Health Care Cost and Pension Reform

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

April 25, 2012

As we get into the City of Memphis budget debate, we need to include the MLGW also. The MLGW runs on a calendar year budget and the City of Memphis and Shelby County run on a fiscal year starting July 1, 2012. However, you the taxpayer, pays for all of it through your property (more…)

Did You Know About This $2 Million?

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

April 23, 2012

There are many hidden policies in government that cost you, the taxpayer, millions of dollars per year. Here is one of those obscure facts that are difficult to understand and to get your arms around.

 

The new combined Shelby County Board of Education (23 members) and the Transition Planning Commission (21 members) are hard at work trying to form a new educational super hero system by combining the Memphis School System and the previous County School System. I have in the past pointed out the huge difference in (more…)

47 Cents Or What?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

April 18, 2012

Mayor Wharton chose April 17th (TAX DAY) to deliver his 2012 budget message of a one time (???) 47 cent tax increase. The first thing that occurred to me was that the onetime tax increase would be added to my county tax bill the following year for the new consolidated schools.

Then in the same newspaper was the article entitled “City to clean up sewage (more…)

Reform School On The Mississippi

Monday, April 16th, 2012

April 16, 2012

The CA and the Flyer last week were full of stories about the consolidation school fight. Jackson Baker had a particularly good article in the Flyer. Our effort for better education for our children is local but here is what is going on nationally. Read this article from today’s Wall Street Journal.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304356604577339991778265550.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

 

Locally it seems that the fight breaks down to three positions.

  • Let’s have a giant unified school system with 160,000 students and with a giant bureaucracy which I call the Pyramid system with some similarities to the downtown pyramid.
  • Let’s have a unified system with a number of districts with limited autonomy but still under a central school board with as yet undefined authority which I call the loose noose system.
  • Let’s have a Shelby County system with separate school districts for any of the incorporated Shelby County cities that want to have a separate system which I call the competition system. This system could include parental choice if passed by the State.

The Pyramid system has been tried here for years under the title of the Memphis City School System (MCS). It has been a failure and therefore scrapped with the consolidation vote. It has a model called the Federal Department of Education. The history of the Department of Education is interesting. It was formed in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. It currently spends $23 billion dollars a year. Look at the number of programs it hosts. This top down system has clearly failed but it has increased the cost of education with its many mandates and requirements. It has failed under both republican and democrat presidents and congresses.

The loose noose system could work if structured properly and with rules that do not allow the subsequent school board to change the rules and build up the central control ending up with the Pyramid system.

The competition system is the best in that it allows different systems to exist with the measure of success or failure being the education of the children measured under state standards. The competition system would allow choice for parents giving them the choice of public, charter, private, parochial or home schooling with the money to back up their choice and with the measuring standards to determine whether the outcome is the desired result. Just this morning there is an article in the Wall Street Journal detailing the success of Louisiana with the implementation of two bills that offer a national model for competition and parental choice. The future of our children and the future of this county depend on the choices that are made.

Budget Season Begins

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

April 11, 2012

The City of Memphis budget hearing begin April 28th and the new 2013 fiscal year begins July 1, 2012. The MLGW budget runs on a calendar year and the 2013 budget hearings will be this fall. However the MLGW budget must be approved by the City Council so it is important to now (more…)

Check Engine Light

Monday, April 9th, 2012

April 9, 2012

Recently I was getting some work done on my 14 year old Buick at my favorite neighborhood car repair shop and got into a conversation with the owner about a subject that is close to his heart. He said “Mr. Saino, I need you to do something about the auto inspection problem here in Memphis and the problem of the check engine light coming on and causing the failure of the test”. He said that he has had a lot of customers that had failed the test for that reason and then had to pay hundreds and sometimes over a thousand dollars to find out the source of the problem and correct it. Usually it was at the car dealership site. He had just fixed one that involved the gas cap seal at a relatively low cost.

I told him about my efforts to get the City of Memphis to do away with the inspection routine in the City of Memphis (cars outside Memphis in the County do not need such an inspection) or at least to go to the Nashville template and turn the inspection over to a private firm and find other work for the city employees in the auto inspection department but to no avail.

Then I started investigating the subject and guess what? I found that our wonderful local US Representative, Stevie Cohen, had found out, to the tune of $800, what Cass Sunstein, Administrator for the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has been up to in the last three years of the Obama Administration. Formerly  Stevie never met a regulation that he did not like. Only when it cost him $800 out of his pocket did he come to the realization that this is what BIG Government does. Big Government wants you to take Obamacare and Social Security pensions but not Federal Employees who get better deals.

We need to cut the cost of local auto inspections by turning it over to a private firm, do away with auto inspections or require all Shelby County cars to have inspections and certainly do away with the dreaded check engine light failure.

Any thoughts or personal experiences would be appreciated.

What Is A TDZ?

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

April 4, 2012

Yesterday the Memphis City Council approved a $9 million dollar bundle of proposed improvements to the Liberty Bowl. They proposed to pay for these improvements with a TDZ (Tourist Development Zone). As I understand it the current state sales tax (7%) from Liberty Bowl events will become the base amount of sales taxes. Bonds will be issued and the work done and then once (more…)