Eagleton: Dewey Bartlett Jr is no fiscal conservative

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Former Tulsa City Councilor John Eagleton, a Republican and a budget hawk during his time on the council, issued a statement today on the fiscal record of incumbent Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr:

As a former City Councilor, I share my opinion that Mayor Dewey Bartlett is not a fiscal conservative. He has allowed the City budget to grow to an irresponsible level.

Mayor Bartlett expanded the budget to extraordinary amounts over the last three years. The three largest budgets in the City of Tulsa's history have been during his administration.

Today, news sources report that the projected budget shortfall is over $6.0 million.

In the six weeks since the City of Tulsa's budget deficit was first disclosed, I've watched with avid interest for leadership from Mayor Dewey Bartlett. Tulsa is still waiting.

Like others who have previously served Tulsa in an elected role, I understand the ramifications of not moving quickly to adjust the budget and curtail an out-of-control deficit.

The head of the Office of Management Review remains unfilled, and we've learned that the City Council must take the lead in implementing the KPMG study cost reductions.

I remain simply an observer in the Mayoral race, and expressly offer no endorsement for either candidate.


BatesLine, May 2013: Kathy & Dewey's budget roller coaster (comparing general fund budgets in both administrations

KRMG, April 29, 2011: Eagleton objects to Bartlett budget for exceeding core rate of inflation

BatesLine, August 28, 2009: A look back at Eagleton's lone vote, grounded in financial concerns, against relocating City Hall to One Technology Center

Urban Tulsa Weekly, October 14, 2009: Prior to the mayoral election, Eagleton calls for core inflation budgeting:

Eagleton said he has been pleading with his fellow councilors for years to adopt a strategy he calls core-inflation budgeting, rather than simply budgeting to the revenue stream. Because Tulsa's municipal budget relies on sales tax revenue, he said, the amount of money city officials have to spend shrinks accordingly when sales tax receipts go into a decline.

In 2006, he said, the economy was good, and sales tax receipts were high.

"And we spent every penny we earned," he said. "We gave raises all around that are now baked into the cake. So, it becomes harder and harder every time, with each budget cycle downturn, to meet our budget."

Eagleton favors a budget process based on the core inflation rate that sets aside revenue for the inevitable downturns of the future. Some smaller sacrifices today can help the city avoid having to make what he calls the "Draconian cuts" required in the current budget.

"If we had done that in 2007 and 2008, yes, we would still have to trim the edges, but we wouldn't have the eight furlough days we did have," he said.

Eagleton said he plans on making the same core-budgeting plea next spring, but the reception that proposal receives depends on the makeup of the council and who occupies the mayor's office.

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Graychin said:

Bartlett isn't the only officeholder who talks a good game about being a "fiscal conservative" but performs much differently in exercise of his office.

Much of our stunning national debt was run up (or set up) by "fiscal conservatives."

Deeds, not creeds.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 7, 2013 7:48 PM.

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