That’s what Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said upon annoncing that she wanted to increase the city’s general fund some $250 million or some 40 percent. Atlanta currently does not have a $250 million surplus – new taxes and fees are certainly on the horizon. The new funds will be used to improve city services and cover growing health care costs for its retirees — a false dichotomy if I’ve ever seen one. In fact a Bain & Co report conmpleted for the city a few years noted that Atlanta spends more per capita for the same type of services than comparable cities…that they had a workforce that is 21 to 37 percent larger…and that they had not undertaken significant outsourcing or privatization of some central services functions such as information technology and motor transport services. Before looking in other people’s pockets maybe the mayor should do some work herself bring Atlanta in line with comparable cities. If that wasn’t enough of a slap to taxpayers, Georgia Trend magazine, just named Franklin “Georgian of the Year.” Among the chief reasons (and I couldn’t make this up) “accomplishments like balanced budgets.” Its true that when she entered office she was faced with a looming deficit…at that time she pushed through a one percent sales tax hike and a hefty hike in property taxes to boot!
Geoffrey Segal is the director of privatization and government reform at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. He is also editor of Reason's Privatization Watch.