THE SYSTEMIC ROOTS OF MIAMI BEACH BANKRUPTCY
The Commission and City Manager's office repeatedly make the mistake of projecting unrealistic future tax revenue upon short-term and anomalous economic growth (such as existed between 2002 an 2006) and then spending based on those unrealistic projections, thus putting us into dangerous short-term deficit and incurring even more dangerous long-term pension and health care liabilities. Currently over 70% of our taxes go directly or indirectly to our public employees, leaving very little to manage the long-term infrastructural needs of the city.
The city has consistently NOT had a master plan, but rather only managed the planning of small sections of the Beach in a piecemeal fashion, just hoping that somehow it would all fit together someday. The result is rampant wasteful spending in the form of projects done multiple times unnecessarily or embellished every few years to placate the whimsical interests of a select few.
The Draconian policies, methods and tactics of permitting in the Building department and Code Compliance actively repulse businesses from opening on the Beach or facilitate the failure of businesses on the Beach. Many such businesses that are successful in many other cities, like the restaurant Joe Allen, go out of business in Miami Beach. As a result, the tax base in our community is not nearly as large as it could be, thus shifting more of the tax burden onto the residents and home-owners.
Only 6% to 18% of registered voters typically vote in local elections. Most competitive elections are decided by less than 1000 votes, and both the special interests and politicians know it. Union endorsements, alone, typically count for 1,000 to 1,500 votes. Politicians vie for these endorsements in order to win their elections. Once elected, the quid-pro-quo kicks in and they then reward public employees with salaries, overtime plans, and pension benefits that are way above the national averages. The pension plan liabilities, alone, are scheduled to bankrupt us in less than 20 years.
Elections are slanted for career politicians to win election after election. There is very little pressure to change backward and often harmful government policies, not to mention any reform of a city charter that is anachronistic and systemically flawed.
The politicians select key "players" in the community and co-opt them by putting them on boards and committees and making them feel important and politically connected (similar to what Louis XIV did with the French aristocracy). These key players become loyal to the politicians and do their bidding, often at the expense of the long-term interest of the residents and taxpayers of Miami Beach.
The majority of Miami Beach public employees do not live on the Beach; as a result they are often out of touch with the issues most important to every-day citizens. They do not care much that their salaries and pension plans result in higher taxes because for the most part it's not their taxes paying for it.
- The citizens of Miami Beach are consistently kept from finding "the whole truth and nothing but the truth." When our campaign called City Hall to get the educational level of all employees, City Hall informed us that the fulfillment of such a request would cost over $16,600.00! This impediment to knowledge further keeps the masses uninformed about how bad things really are in the city; otherwise they would vote these politicians out in a heartbeat.