Miami is bankrupt. Unfortunately the city refuses to admit it.

In an enormously foolhardy attempt to make ends meet, in spite of the fact that Miami home prices have been hammered and 1-in-8 are unemployed, the County keeps pouring on the painful tax and fee increases.

As you recoil from your tax warning notice today, ponder this: those multiple tax hikes aren’t the only charges set to rise. Besides Miami-Dade County’s plan to raise every taxpayer’s rates 12.2% for operations and an incredible 56% for capital spending on undisclosed projects, it also plans to raise retail water and wastewater rates 5%.

And though County Manager George Burgess proposed the 5% water and wastewater hikes, that’s not because water and sewer are running in the red. They’re already quite profitable. But by raising rates, the county can dip into water and sewer cash and add $25 million to its operating spending cache while claiming it’s keeping our cost down. And for that $25 million slice the county would be right — unless you happen to drink water or flush a toilet.

“If you keep taking money it just goes to reason you’re going to be charging more so all the residents are paying more,” Commissioner Carlos Gimenez told us. “It’s actually a hidden tax. You’re just hiding it in water and sewer.”

One Miami-Dade worker in eight can’t get a job and commissioners don’t seem to notice. Instead, as the economy strangles the public and values of homes fall, the county plans double-digit tax hikes on every dollar of remaining value. Before the commission finally clamps the screws on taxpayers or, as it should, relieves pressure by backing off its massive increases, it will hold budget hearings at 5 p.m. Sept. 13 and 23.

What can we do?

One suggestion: Let your commissioner know you’ll be taking names of those who vote to raise tax rates even a penny in today’s economy. Remind them that the purpose of government is not to remain bloated. Another suggestion: Wear a red “Cut Tax Rate” T-shirt to the hearings. Have your friends do the same. Remember, commissioners only count the hundreds of votes in the room, not the hundreds of thousands of suffering taxpayers back home fighting foreclosure.

Miami Breaks Employee Contracts

Inquiring minds are reading Broke City Breaking Employee Contracts

The city of Miami is so broke it’s forcing employees to take pay cuts, even though they’re under contract. Mayor Tomas Regalado said he’s never seen a financial mess like this before, and his options are grim.

“It’s either that or we layoff 1,000 employees or we raise taxes to the max, and we’re not raising taxes to the max,” the mayor said.

Mish Comment: If you are looking for one of the most disingenuous comments in history there you have it. The only reason it is not a blatant lie is the ending phrase “to the max”. Regalado is clearly incompetent and needs to be removed.

The city is operating under a state of “fiscal urgency,” declared earlier this summer. The budget deficit for next fiscal year is about $110 million. The proposed cuts in salary, pension contributions and health insurance costs amounts to about $86 million in savings for the city.

That fiscal urgency declaration allows city commissioners to impose salary cuts on employees, despite their contracts.

Charlie Cox, who represents about 1,100 general service workers, said employees with valuable knowledge will retire or find work elsewhere. “We’re going to have a ton of people leave the city and the institutional knowledge will be gone,” he said.

Mish Comment: Hello Charlie. Good luck in finding jobs with excessive benefits in this market. Hell, you don’t need luck you need a miracle.

Good riddance, the sooner you leave the better Miami will be. Every position vacated will be a gain to the city.

Miami’s police officers, firefighters and other union workers are all expected to choke down cuts. One police union official said the Fraternal Order of Police will sue the city if the cuts are imposed

Mish Comment: It is the right of the FOP to file a lawsuit. I hope they do. The correct response for the city would be to immediately declare bankruptcy so the overpaid union clowns can see just what benefits they get in bankruptcy court, ideally nothing.

Hell, the correct response is for Miami to declare bankruptcy now, whether the FOP is stupid and arrogant enough to sue or not. Miami is bankrupt, and the sooner the mayor and city council admit it the better.

Budget Hearing 5 p.m. September 13 and 23

If you live in Miami and you do not show up at the hearing you are part of the problem. You better show up because union will, en masse, and they will pack the halls demanding still more tax increases so they can go on receiving huge wages and even bigger pension benefits.

In the meantime, please flood the mayor’s office and all of the commissioners with phone calls, emails, and faxes.

Mayor Tomas P. Regalado
Email Mayor Tomas P. Regalado
305-250-5300 VOICE
305-854-4001 FAX

Commissioner Wifredo (Willy) Gort
District 1
Email Commissioner Wifredo (Willy) Gort
305-250-5430 VOICE
305-250-5456 FAX

Commissioner Marc Sarnoff (Chairman)
District 2
Email Commissioner Marc Sarnoff
305-250-5333 VOICE
305-579-3334 FAX

Commissioner Frank Carollo (Vice Chairman)
District 3
Email Commissioner Frank Carollo
305-250-5380 VOICE
305-250-5386 FAX

Commissioner Francis Suarez
District 4
Email Commissioner Francis Suarez
305-250-5420 VOICE
305-856-5230 FAX

Commissioner Richard P. Dunn
District 5
Email Commissioner Richard P. Dunn
305-250-5390 VOICE
305-250-5399 FAX

Please flood the Mayor and all the commissioners with emails. Have your friends do the same (unless of course you want your taxes to rise for the sole benefit of unions and city employees).

If you are not in a public union or a city employee, please say so. Include your name and address and let them know you will not vote for anyone who raises taxes.

Those email links above contain a sample heading line. Please modify it so they do not all look alike.

In the body, let the mayor and commissioners know that Miami is bankrupt and politicians giving into union extortion is the reason. As I said, union thugs will show up en masse demanding more taxes, more benefits, and higher wages. Let the mayor and commissioners know that you support bankruptcy to avoid union ripoffs.

Finally, if you live in Miami, please have your friends do the same.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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