April 1, 2010

TAX-EATERS WITH BADGES:

Toledo's Fiscal Reckoning: City Takes on Unions as it Manages to Patch a $48 Million Budget Gap (AMY MERRICK, 3/31/10, WSJ)

This former manufacturing hub of about 300,000 narrowly averted having the state take over its finances by filling a $48 million budget gap late Tuesday. To tackle that deficit, Mayor Michael Bell had to take on the city's police and firefighters' unions and propose other controversial measures. [...]

In addition to the concessions from the unions, Mr. Bell proposed reducing an income-tax credit for Toledo residents who work outside the city and imposing a $15 monthly trash-collection fee. The city council late Tuesday passed a balanced budget, adopting those plans.

Last week, members of the city's firefighters' union agreed to a package of concessions that will save the city $3.1 million. Those concessions, and other savings outlined by the mayor's office, are expected to cover $23 million of the total deficit.

Members of the police union voted down proposals to pay for a portion of their pensions and defer overtime, but the city council at its meeting Tuesday approved Mr. Bell's request to declare "exigent circumstances," under which Toledo could unilaterally force concessions on unions. The city expects unions to challenge the measure in court, a fight that could end up before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 1, 2010 5:23 AM
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