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Who are the biggest thieves in Arizona? The U.S.A?

Hmmm... Maricopa County is run by 5 elected supervisors. They have a budget of $1.3 billion dollars. That means each supervisor is responsible for stealing $260 million

The article doesn't give the current budget for the City of Phoenix but the 2004 budget was $2.4 billion. With the 8 councilmen and mayor of Phoenix that means 9 rulers decide where to steal the $2.4 billion dollars. That means each Phoenix ruler is responsible for stealing $266 million.

The 2007 Arizona budget was $9.85 billion. With about 60 members in the Arizona House that makes each member responsible for stealing $164 million. With 30 members in the Arizona Senate that means each senate member is responsible for stealing $328 million!

I guess that means the biggest thieves in the Arizona Legislator are the members of the Senate who steal $328 million each!

At the Federal level, the 2008 budget appears to be $2.9 trillion. I say appears because the budget released by President Bush on the web seems to be there to confuse and befuddle the reader rather then inform you.

With one hundred U.S. Senators that means each Senator is responsible for stealing $29 billion dollars!

With 540 members in the U.S. House that means each House member is responsible for stealing a measly $5.3 billion.

So when it comes to the biggest thieves in the land the members of the U.S. Senate are clearly the biggest crooks in the land, probably the biggest thieves in the world!


Maricopa County mulls hiring freeze, spending cuts

Yvonne Wingett The Arizona Republic Jan. 11, 2008 12:00 AM

Maricopa County officials are preparing to slash spending, freeze hiring, and will likely lay off some workers by the end of the fiscal year to balance its budget, amid the prolonged economic slowdown.

On Monday, budget officials will present new economic forecasts to the Board of Supervisors and propose the hiring freeze.

Already, departments have cut administrative costs by 5 percent, and last week, the Board of Supervisors approved a plan to eliminate 62 full-time positions. Most of those positions were empty, but several employees - probably fewer than a dozen - are expected to either lose their jobs or move to other positions, officials said.

Budget officials have asked presiding judges, elected officials, assistant county managers and department directors, to come up with scenarios that would reduce budgets by 5 percent, 10 percent and 15 percent to meet this year's overall budget, which is projected to be $27 million short this fiscal year.

The plans will be sent to the Office of Management and Budget by Feb. 1.

"On a scale of one to 10, we're better than a five, and that's pretty bad," said Supervisor Andy Kunasek, chairman of the board. "A couple of years ago, we were really doing well financially, the revenues were just pouring in. Now it's the complete reversal: they're in the negative."

Sales-tax revenues make up about 37 percent of Maricopa County's $1.3 billion general fund. The county is showing about a 4 percent drop on its state shared sales tax and is short by $9.4 million so far this fiscal year. The county's vehicle-license tax and jail tax, which also contribute to the general fund, have also shrunk.

In a letter sent to top county officials this week, budget authorities asked department heads to look for ways to eliminate services and programs not mandated by law, reduce the scope of services, and streamline or automate to save costs. County residents could see longer lines or wait times for services, depending on how deep cuts are.

"They need to look at everything, and there should be no sacred cows at this point," said Sandi Wilson, a deputy county manager who oversees the Office of Management & Bud- get.

"They're doing more with less," she said. "Any additional cuts we have are going to be people losing their jobs."

Reach the reporter at 602-444-4712.


Budget woes plague county, cities
Shortfall makes layoffs, service cuts likely for Phoenix

Casey Newton
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 11, 2008 12:00 AM

Phoenix's budget deficit is almost a third bigger than early projections suggested, creating a need for layoffs and service cuts that will likely extend to the city's police and fire departments.

Phoenix needs to reduce its budget by an estimated $70.8 million over the next 18 months, significantly more than the $53.5 million forecast in November. The deficit grew after city officials added in unexpected cost increases, including a rise in fuel and utility costs and a 25 percent spike in the city's contribution to police and fire pensions.

City departments are already planning layoffs and buyouts in numbers that could reach into the hundreds. Cuts to city services, including library hours, park maintenance and graffiti cleanup, are all but certain.

Phoenix has been hit hard by the slowdown in consumer spending that has affected every level of government. The city's general-fund revenue has grown by 0.9 percent this year, far less than the 7 percent officials had expected.

The cuts would represent 6.3 percent of the general fund, which pays for most city services.

The housing industry slowdown and collapse of the subprime-lending industry have led to budget shortfalls in Mesa and Tempe as well as Maricopa County and the state.

Phoenix officials on Thursday said balancing the budget would not require them to cut police officers, firefighters or the personnel that directly support them - dispatchers and lab technicians, for example. Instead, police and fire will look to trim administrative and travel costs.

Still, the city's willingness to cut its public-safety budget, long held sacrosanct by City Council members, illustrates the tough times in which Phoenix finds itself. Five years ago, during the last round of significant cuts, police and fire escaped with their budgets intact.

"The police chief and fire chief have come forward and said they think it's important the Police Department and Fire Department participate in these cuts," City Manager Frank Fairbanks said, referring to chiefs Jack Harris and Bob Khan, respectively. "They're part of the city family. We work together."

The city still expects to hire up to 250 new police officers in the next year, largely through Proposition 1, the sales-tax increase voters approved in September.

Specific proposals to trim the budget won't be unveiled until Feb. 19, followed by two weeks of hearings to solicit resident feedback. The budget is scheduled to be adopted March 11, with most cuts going into effect April 14.

The Phoenix staff is recommending 3 percent cuts to the police and fire departments as well as the criminal-justice staff, which includes courts, prosecutors and public defenders.Under the staff's plan, other departments would be asked to cut their budgets by 12.8 percent each. All departments, including police and fire, submitted potential cuts of 20 percent.

The city has budgeted $1 million for buyouts, which will provide a financial incentive to retire for employees who are eligible. Phoenix could achieve between 10 to 20 percent of its reductions through buyouts, Fairbanks said.

On Tuesday, the Phoenix City Council is expected to approve an expedited budget calendar that would enable the city to make some cuts as soon as March. By eliminating some positions sooner, the city can reap those savings over a longer period of time.

"The sooner you make cuts, the better," said Cynthia Seelhammer, a deputy city manager who oversees the budget process. "It means fewer service cuts later."

In the meantime, Phoenix on Thursday instituted a hiring freeze that affects all positions except sworn police and fire personnel.

Phoenix's growing budget deficit comes just a few years after the city had to cut $117 million from its general fund in the wake of the post-9/11 collapse of the tourism industry.

"As you keep cutting, it gets harder and harder," Fairbanks said.


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