Dr. McKalip Proposes $10 Million Tax and Fee Cut, City Employee Raises, and Funding of Pension Plans.$80 million in excess reserves will be used in first year and spending reform and cuts in future years.
Dr. David McKalip City Council candidate for District 4 has released following
response to the recently released City Budget proposal. Press release provided
by the McKalip campaign and posted here with no editing.
St Petersburg, FL -- Dr. McKalip, candidate for
St. Petersburg city Council, is proposing tax and fee cuts for the city of St.
Petersburg’s 2014 budget year. The $10 million in cuts to benefit the
citizens is in stark contrast to the $10 million hike in property taxes and
water and sewer rate proposed by the city government for 2014.
Dr McKalip offered: “For too long the
citizens of St. Petersburg have been taken for granted by a city government
that wastes the citizens’ money and refuses to meet its basic obligations in a
fiscally responsible way. The City of St. Petersburg government costs a family
of four an additional $1,500 per year compared to a more reasonable baseline of
spending in 2001 – that is with 3,500 fewer citizens and 365 fewer government
workers! It is time for some tax relief for the citizens.”
The Mayor released his 2014 budget proposal on July 1, calling for a 0.1% cut
in the millage rate which would still result in a $3.2 million tax hike for
citizens. In addition the city would raise water and sewage bills 4.2% for an
additional $7.3 million. Dr. McKalip observed: “Last year, the city raised property taxes $10 million for this fiscal
year and now proposes to remove another $10 million from citizens and the
economy –further hurting both.” Dr. McKalip is
promising to work for a true tax and fee cut for citizens if elected to city
council in November. “I will not vote for any budget that raises taxes. I
will hold up votes on budgets that attempt to raise taxes or fees in any way.
If elected, I will be the first city council member in years to actually work
to cut city spending”
While future tax and fee cuts are also entirely feasible after wasteful
spending is analyzed and stopped, the first cuts will be financed by tapping
excess reserves the city has built up. The city has placed into its bank
accounts money from the citizens totally in $81 million above what is required
by law or required for emergencies. $10 million of these reserves will be
returned directly to the taxpayers and water, sewer and sanitation customers
through tax and fee cuts. The remainder of the funds will be used to finance
long delayed raises for government workers. On average, city workers can
receive a raise of $750 by using $2 million of reserve funds. A greater raise
can be given if the workers’ unions agree to reforms in the pension and health
benefit plans that will make them more fiscally stable in the long run and
avoid tax hikes in the future. Finally, $60 million of the additional reserve
funds will be used to begin to fill the hole in pension and retiree health
benefits that have been underfunded by $325 million.
The additional cost of pay raises in the future will be paid for through reform
of health benefits, pension plans, ending wasteful spending, ending corporate
subsidies and focusing government spending on the basics of public safety,
utilities, roads and parks.
Dr. McKalip stated: “Returning money to the taxpayers will help kick start the
economy through true stimulus, resulting in higher tax revenue from the city
through a broader tax base. That is the kind of leadership this city government
needs and the citizens deserve.”
McKalip has been a nearly lifelong resident of St. Petersburg. He is a
community leader and businessman who has practiced brain and spine surgery in
St. Petersburg since 2000. Dr. McKalip is an elected or appointed leader on
many boards and committees. He has been happily married to Ann, his wife of 22
years, and is the father of three wonderful children.
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Campaign Disclosures: Contributor to Darden Rice Campaign