Charlotte Giving Raises While Rome Burns

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Ok.. so maybe Charlotte isn’t Rome.. and while it’s not exactly burning it’s certainly not good out there.  Locally we still have a 12% unemployment rate and according to Civitas NC state government has grown over 12% while private employment has contracted by 1.6% between 01 and 09. Ouch. Tara talked about this during drive time today.. and there was a lot of anger coming her way by people who work for the city. It seems some city employees think they are entitled to yearly raises regardless of what’s going on in the real world and how dare we lowly citizens question that.

To me this anger is misdirected. The middle finger of blame should instead point directly to our local ‘leadership’. I’m talking about the city and county managers and councils. I’ve been in Charlotte for about 12 years now and I’ve lost count of how many projects.. and how many hundreds of millions of tax dollars have been spent on feel good projects that have nothing to do with the legitimate function of local government.

Off the top of my head.. this would include: Whitewater Park, Downtown Arena, Light Rail, Nascar Hall of Fame, Numerous Museums, Numerous Greenways (including the recent 219k spent on some rocks.. huh?) not to mention the hot mess that has become of our schools around here. Our county credit card has been maxed out.. we are closing schools, libraries and firing teachers and as far as I can tell the leadership is still charging ahead with more of the same. The news came out today that the next leg of light rail might have to be scaled back. Really… ? So we don’t have the billion dollars laying around to build more trains where the existing line already costs taxpayers about $7 for every rider. Yea lets build more of that.

So with that backdrop.. and a local government that has so far not felt the pain of this recession they are going to reinstate raises for everyone on the taxpayer dime.  I actually don’t have a problem with this in theory. The problem of course is that we already spent all our money on the niceties while ignoring the basics.  So all you city workers who are angry about people questioning those raises… please direct your anger at those who CHOSE how to spend our money thus far.