Jun 16, 2008

Sticker Shock ("Same old Think...")

In his latest article on the Southeast Texas Political Review, Philip R. Klein again offers "more of the same old think, over and over and over again."  In this case, he's even recycling the same title from another article he wrote on April 24, 2008, about the same subject.

In this latest article, he speculates about the proposed Jefferson County budget for 2008-2009:

The Southeast Texas Political Review has learned from inside sources at the Jefferson County Courthouse the a [sic] preliminary budget that is being floated around may top $140 million dollars [sic].

Readers may have noticed that Philip is carefully attributing all of his speculation to those "inside sources," which provides plausible deniability for gross errors such as this:

This would bring over a five year [sic] period a spending budget in excess of a 40% increase over five years.

Here are the real numbers:

  • Approved Expenditures for 2008: $110,247,921
  • Approved Expenditures for 2003: $92,152,538

The increase in Jefferson County's budget over the past five years is only about 19 percent, not 40 percent as Klein claims.

While Philip's speculation is based on his statement that the budget to be adopted "may top $140 million dollars," readers should remember Philip's prediction last year that the Jefferson County 2008 budget would top $130 million. See Pig Trough here.  The reality was substantially different, with a budget that set approved expenditures at $110,247,921 and estimated revenues slightly over $103 million.

We'll also revisit these statements in the future as the budget hearings unfold:

The Review has learned that the county fathers will attempt to sell the budget one three main issues. They are (1) fuel costs, (2) the condition of the Jefferson County Courthouse, (3) the need to build infrastructure for the massive expansion in the oil industry.

The biggest budget increase will come from the Jefferson County Sheriffs office budget where the rumor is that the Sheriff will ask for a 22% budget increase to cover the cost of fuel and add patrol officers because many have opted to assignments at the Jefferson County Court House security detail. Such detail will take officers off the streets and 14 positions have been created by the new "Jefferson County Navy" as referred to by some local police departments.

Notice Klein's attribution, "...where the rumor is...."  Since I haven't heard those purported rumors, I wonder if Philip is referring to rumors first published on the Southeast Texas Political Review.

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