Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Orland Park officials fight the use of the word "deficit"

Get ready to have sugar sprinkled all over your heads by Mayor Dan McLaughlin.

The Southtown/Star changed their headline to remove the word "deficit." Mayor McLaughlin, who only four months ago painted a rosey future of Orland Park's development for the Orland Park Area Chamber of Commerce, told members of a Village Board at a meeting that was intentionally not publicized Monday, that the village is about $4.8 million short. The village fiscal year begins Oct. 1 and during this next budget session, the village will expand the budget year by three months to carry it through all of 2009 and re-align the new fiscal year to begin Jan. 2010, village officials told the

Officials insist that they have a "hole" or a "gap," and they desperately don't want to call it a "deficit" or a "shortfall," even though that is exactly what it means to have a budget that is short on revenues to pay for programs that are ongoing.

Either the village can find new monies or can trim existing programs.

The budget "shortfall" is no small amount. For example, $4.8 million represents about 4 percent of the village's estimated $127 million budget -- McLaughlin told the Chamber it was $127 and Grimes says it is $129. There's $2 million gine right there, or $2 million more. Who knows?

Imagine the impact on the city of Chicago with it's budget of $3.2 billion (for the corporate budget only) if they had a 4 percent deficit or a shortfall -- and Chicago City Hall reporters would use exactly those terms to describe the budget "hole."

The budget shortfall would be the equivalent of $128 million, and that would be a huge tax hole to fill.

The only way to fill deficits and shortfalls is to raise new revenues. In this economy, which was bad when McLaughlin addressed the Chamber of Commerce and sugar-coated them to applause and absolutely no critical challenge (who wantsto be on the bad side of a vengeful mayor?), it is going to be tough to raise any new revenues.

County Board dictator, er President Todd Stroger's repressive 1 percent sales tax hike slammed Cook County this week, forcing everyone to drive from the Southwest suburbs to Will County where the sales tax is far lower to save huge costs. The last thing we need is a tax increase in Orland Park.

You may not have noticed but home after home in Orland Park is being confiscated by the demons who work for the local banks, who donate huge monies to the political coffers of our elected officials. People can't pay their mortgages and it's not just that many had those rip-off balloon mortgages that exploded with increases. Gasoline prices are sky-high, thanks to President George W. Bush and a phoney war on terrorism he ordered to that Vice President Dick Cheney's company, Halliburton, can make billions in profits from the war profiteering and the crappy equipment they provide to our soldiers.

It's all tied together. No taxpayer is an island!

In the next few weeks, I'll start posting the forms and information about the procedures you will need to run for office in Orland Park and in the Southwest Suburbs. We need new faces, new ideas and a new enthusiasm if we are going to survive. There are some great leaders in office in Orland Park and other government offices, but there are far too many incompetents who think that doing what they are supposed to do is enough to earn your accolades. It's not!

Ray Hanania

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