Does Oak Ridge Have a Revenue Problem or a Spending Problem?

My opponents have repeatedly stated that we have a “revenue problem.”  They do not see our debt as a problem and believe that the solution is to simply increase revenue. Translation: They want MORE of your money. The truth is, revenues aren’t down. They are actually up by $55Million for the last 10 years.

The difference in my candidacy is crystal clear. While I recognize the need for additional revenue, I know (from both the data and from talking to Oak Ridgers, businesses and non-Oak Ridgers) that our root problem is NOT revenue-based but spending-based. We write checks we can’t cash. This city has behaved like Paris Hilton on a shopping spree but Daddy isn’t the one paying the bill….YOU are.

Oak Ridge is the single highest taxed full-service city in the state. We have priced ourselves out of consideration, sight unseen, to new residents and businesses. Every year for the last decade, we have knowingly budgeted to spend more than we bring in (see tables below). It is time for a strategy change. It is time to stop throwing money at our problems. There is only one way that city council can truly improve our economy and that is by leveling the playing field with our competitors by lowering our property tax rate, lowering our debt and lowering our spending. I am very familiar with both of our budgets and I know that we can do this without sacrificing quality of life or our schools (See here).

Friends, things aren’t going to change until WE insist that they do. Residents and businesses are quietly leaving and those of us who remain are going to have to make up the difference unless something changes. I won’t give up. I want to ensure that my family and yours can still call Oak Ridge home for 20-30 years from now. That is why I am running for city council. That is why I need your help to win.

I would like to say that your vote is enough. But it’s not. I need your vote and at least five of your friends’ votes. Politics is everything you’ve heard – the good, the bad and the ugly. We are fighting an uphill battle, but it is a battle whose time has come and we CAN win it.  Please share this with as many people as you can via email, facebook and any other forms of communication you use and consider helping in one of the ways listed here if you haven’t already.

Thank you,

Trina

Ten Year Snapshot of Oak Ridge Budgets

2002

2012

Total Revenues

$118M

$173M

Total Expenditures

$135M

$179M

Total Debt

$104M

$186M 

City of Oak Ridge Budgeted Revenue and Expenditures

Revenues

Expenditures

2002

$118M

$135M

2003

$120M

$152M

2004

$126M

$134M

2005

$126M

$134M

2006

$131M

$177M

2007

$137M

$184M

2008

$145M

$184M

2009

$164M

$183M

2010

$172M

$179M

2011

$173M

$179M

2012

$173M

$179M

How do we make up the self-created deficit every year? Simple. We incur debt and we deplete reserves.

Source: City of Oak Ridge Final Budget for years 2002-2012

http://www.oakridgetenn.org/department/Finance/content.aspx?article=1853

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