Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Dr. David McKalip CandidateDistrict 4 Releases a Budget Statement

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.”

 Dr. David 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

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