By VA Blogger
When it was discovered that Fairfax County would be facing an unprecedented $460 million shortfall in the next budget, Chairman Gerry Connolly came up with a solution: get the hell out of Dodge. While that solved the problem for him, the remaining 1,041,506 residents of Fairfax County still have a large mess on our hands.
Every year, the Thomas Jefferson Institute goes over this year’s budget and the budgets of previous years to find ways to make the budget 1) more efficient and 2) more accountable to the taxpayers. This laudable effort receives the response you’d expect from a governmental organization: a combination of deaf ears and disdain. Nonetheless, TJI produces an analysis every year. Some of the highlights from this year’s piece (though the entire document is worth a read, follow the link to a PDF here):
It is clear from this analysis the School Board continues to spend well beyond the CPI-student population formula even when spending less than its approved budget. In the past four years, school “overspending” as determined by this study totals $463,707,853—almost exactly the amount of the projected “shortfall” the county faces in next year’s budget.
The Board of Supervisors needs to develop a better financial oversight mechanism for its own spending and for spending by the School Board.
Combined with the “overspending” by the County seperate from the schools, the past four years have produced over half a billion dollars in spending over the CPI-population growth formula.
Fortunately, TJI has some simple, common sense solutions to tackling the issue, including: Public-private partnerships for new government buildings if they result in a better price; competitive bidding for maintenance for County vehicles; prioritizing government spending and finding and rooting out overlaps and duplicates; contracting out IT services; consolidating County and School Board services, like payroll processing, maintenance, warehousing, etc.; and, putting all spending by the County and School Board online
I have two more solutions for tackling the budget crisis I think may help:
- Lock Sharon Bulova in a closet
- Hide the key