Monday, October 05, 2009

Same old tired song

The face of Trenton’s feckless leader appeared on the front page of the Trentonian this morning along with the headline:

Which of course begs the question; just who does Mr. Palmer think he is to demand anything of anyone?

The article goes on to explain that Palmer, and other urban mayors, want to talk to President Obama’s key money men about more funding for their cities.

In a prepared statement available on the City of Trenton website, Palmer makes the case for federal funding for “Main Street” just as it bailed out Wall Street during the financial crisis of the last year.

“I understand the importance of stabilizing financial institutions. My point is, Main Street is where the innovations and jobs are – and we will need some focused support to get the economic benefit of the green economy and create jobs now.”

The problem in Trenton at least is that the city’s situation is actually the result of Palmer’s ineffective governance and policies over the past two decades.

For starters, there was the long time acceptance of Regional Contribution Agreements (RCAs) that allowed suburban community to buy their way out of affordable housing requirements by paying money to urban centers like Trenton. The net result was the development of various types of subsidized housing within the city that concentrated residents with the lowest incomes and highest need for services here instead of in the suburbs where the jobs are.

Then there is Palmer’s favorite complaint…”the state isn’t paying its share.” While the actual payments in lieu of taxes the State of New Jersey makes to Trenton may be calculated at less than the value the city would charge a private property owner, it is not the only state funding the city gets. Some people have estimated that 80%- 85% or more of Trenton’s fiscal budget comes from state and county government in one way or another. That means that the business entity of the City of Trenton is already living well above its means on the “largesse” of the taxpayers throughout the state.

An increasingly bloated and spendthrift administration and a dysfunctional school board appointed solely by the mayor have both contributed to Trenton’s woes.

Yes, the economic downtown has hit cities and hit them hard. But imprudent fiscal management prior to the recession was what weakened Trenton.

Before Mr. Palmer demands anything of the Federal Government, he ought to look at what his lack of leadership has contributed to Trenton’s woes and make the necessary cuts and corrections to the budget. (Which…three months into the fiscal year has yet to be submitted/approved).
As a couple of the wags commenting on the Trentonian website said:



Chrissy said...

This story bugged me, too.

I'm not saying Trenton should not receive federal help, but maybe Trenton should not receive federal help until:
a) Palmer gets rid of his drivers,
b) Palmer gets rid of his administrative posse,
c) Palmer pays back the money he wasted on the Santiago lawsuit.

Failing that, maybe Trenton shouldn't receive any federal funds until Palmer is out of office.

Anonymous said...

Chrissy, you forgot;
d)Palmer is no longer mayor and never allowed to hold an elected office in the City of Trenton again.