But we’re moving up!
When citizens think about where local taxpayer money goes, they often assume it pays for things like public safety, snow removal and trash collection — routine operating expenses that come with running any big city. And that’s mostly true. But what they rarely realize is that legacy costs also eat up large portions of the typical city’s budget. Debt accumulated over many years, contributions to employee retirement systems and the expense of fixing long-neglected infrastructure all take a significant toll.
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As legacy costs continue to rise, cities have less money for public safety, health care and other essential services. “The trend continues to squeeze out other operating expenses over time,” says Richard Ciccarone, president of Merritt Research. “Many cities are going to have to increase taxes to retain current levels of services.”
El Paso comes in at tenth place, with debt and pensions consuming 25.6 percent of the City’s budget. But don’t worry! We’re selling bonds to borrow more!
On a brighter note, we’re all going to die someday, and our kids and grandkids can move someplace with responsible government.