March 22, 2013
Mayor Greg Stanton vowed to protect the city’s first responders from potentially harmful budget cuts outlined as options to accommodate for the city’s significant revenue shortfall.
“My job is to do what’s right, to make smart, responsible choices for our economy and to never jeopardize public safety,” Stanton said. “The fact is our police department hasn’t hired a single officer in the last three years. Two hundred and thirty-two officers have left our department since 2010, and we haven’t been able to fill those positions because of a hiring freeze. That’s already placed a heavy burden on our police, and making even deeper cuts would put the department at long-term risk.”
According to a trial budget prepared by City Manager David Cavazos, sun-setting the citywide food tax two years earlier than scheduled would force the city to:
- Lay off 99 sworn police officers and sergeants and leave three positions unfilled.
- Eliminate half of the city’s after-school programs.
- Close Burton Barr Central Library one day a week.
- Cut domestic violence and child victims’ advocacy programs by $550,000.
- Close five of the city’s 13 recreation centers.
- Make a host of other harmful cuts to most city programs.
Seventy percent of the city’s general fund budget pays for the police officers and firefighters who protect families and communities every day.
Stanton, Phoenix leaders saved tax dollars by cutting spending
Before even considering maintaining the city’s scheduled revenue rates, Stanton and other city leaders worked to significantly cut spending:
- Stanton led the push to pass real pension reform that will save taxpayers $600 million.
- Phoenix’s Innovation and Efficiency Task Force has saved nearly $63 million.
- The city combined departments, including turning the Planning, Development Services and Historic Preservation departments into one.
- Reduced the city’s workforce by 2,500 positions, resulting in the smallest number of employees per capita in 40 years.
- Over the last four years, Phoenix has saved $200 million cumulatively in employee costs.
Without these innovation and efficiency savings, even a budget that maintains scheduled revenue rates would result in deep cuts to city services.
Revenue falls short of economists’ projections
In 2011, city and state economists, including the Joint Legislative Budget Committee and the Finance Advisory Committee, projected a stronger economic recovery than Arizona has seen over the last two years. Based on those projections, Phoenix would have enough rebound in city revenues to end the food tax earlier than planned without harm to the city. However, according to the city manager, actual revenue will fall $20 million short of projections, and the city’s pension payments are $15 million higher than expected.
Community leaders oppose deep cuts to critical city services
“It would have been wrong to cut police and fire two years ago, and the same is true today. The people of Phoenix value safe neighborhoods and demand safe schools. I’m proud to stand with leaders who are willing to make the public’s safety the top priority. Mayor Stanton has proven to every Phoenix resident that he’s the kind of mayor who will do what’s right, even if it’s the tough thing to do. That’s the kind of leadership we need in our city.”
-Ann Malone, a Phoenix neighborhood leader and founding member of Citizens for Phoenix.
“The City of Phoenix has recently made great strides in funding coordinated services and planning strategically to improve services which protect victims and hold those who abuse accountable. Domestic violence is a public safety and victims’ rights issue. It would be a shame for Phoenix to move backward at this critical juncture — funding for services and enforcement must be maintained.”
-Allie Bones, executive director of the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“When this current revenue stream was implemented two years ago by the former Mayor and City Council, it allowed the Parks and Recreation Department to restore Phoenix Afterschool Centers (PAC) school year programs at 16 sites. In addition to PAC, the City was also able to restore fourteen neighborhood recreation centers and West Phoenix Revitalization recreation programming. These are vital services and programs needed to serve the families and seniors of our community.”
-Roger Peck, member of the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board
“Many library users have no access to computers at home and the library is their only way to access the web to search for jobs, submit applications and get back on their feet. Students use the library as a place to do homework, parents as a place to access reading material and programming for their kids, and countless others use their library to learn new skills. Phoenicians need their libraries to be open and available. It’s a necessity, not a luxury.”
–Alexis Boyle, Community Programs Coordinator for Friends of the Phoenix Library