Cincinnati's leaders will have an even more difficult job setting the 2010 budget than previously thought. Council was informed today that if spending and revenue were maintained at the 2009 level, the City will spend $51 million more than it receives in 2010. This means that the City must find new sources of revenue, cut spending, or both.
The 2010 budget will most likely be the newly constituted Council's first item of business. Most of the current campaign vitriol is about the budget.
So I offer an open invitation to Council candidates--both incumbents and challengers--to tell us what they'd do about the budget. If any candidate wishes, I'll post their proposal here, unedited. But here are the rules (they're simple):
1. Be specific. In other words, I'll not publish a platitude such as "public safety must come first." If your budget solution is cuts, tell us what program you'll cut and how much money it would eliminate from the budget. If your solution is more revenue, tell us which tax or fee you'll increase, and how much money it will generate.
2. Don't mention any of your opponents or their plans or suggestions.
I'm not asking for a line-by-line budget, or even a proposal that entirely closes the projected $51 million gap (though I'd post either if any candidate sent one). Even a partial (specific) plan, though, will help voters understand your priorities.
Most of the people on or running for Council are sincere, well-meaning people who desire the best for the City. Most have given prolonged thought to the budget and how they'd fix it. We don't seem to be hearing about specifics in the traditional media, though.
Any Council candidate who wishes to take me up on this offer should email me. I'll post your proposal within 48 hours and without my own comments or editing (I can make no promises as to what the blog's commenters will do, though).