Politics pulling budget strings more than economy

Everett City Hall. (Photo By Jim Mahoney)

Mayor keeps raise while continuing to slash jobs, pay from behind closed doors

BY JOSH RESNEK

The mayor is determined to cut every city employee salary and job that he can except for his own because the city is facing a financial crisis.

At a time when the city is facing financial hurdles caused by the Coronavirus, when long lines form several times a week at the city’s free food distribution centers, the mayor has decided to keep his own salary increase and to make cuts to many other city employees relying exclusively on their city salaries and health insurance.

Against this backdrop of shoot from the hip cuts and layoffs to stem a widening cash deficit, Everett remains a city without a budget, unlike most cities in the Commonwealth who have budgets.

The FY2021 budget or continuing resolution or draft spending plan or whatever you might call it, is readily available on the website of most municipalities in the Commonwealth.

Not in Everett.

One month into the fiscal year and the budget document is as elusive as the Easter Bunny in January.

The Mayor’s policy of opaque city budget economics is in full force.

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Facing an uncertain economic future

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Spring blossoms at the Massachusetts State House. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Everett is not alone in the national struggle to preserve our economy, to reopen it and for it to begin heading down the road to recovery.

We all want to be where we were before the Coronavirus and our reaction to it was to shut down the economy and our society and to employ social distancing.

At this moment, the city faces major hurdles in meeting its financial obligations. Without tax income pouring into the treasury, the city is a reflection of our private financial lives, all of which are in a state of ruin until we figure out how to get out of this and back to normal.

There will be a new normal. Things will not naturally go back to the way they were anytime soon.

What Everett’s leaders must be focused on is how to reopen the city’s public schools in the fall if this is possible. At the same time, everyone must understand that the city cannot pay School Department salaries as they exist today if the budget won’t allow for it – so adjustments in employment at the School Department are inevitably likely to be made.

It is simple math.

You can’t pay salaries if you don’t have the cash in the city treasury.

This implies that the state will need to supplement all city and town budgets with cash from its Rainy Day Fund in order to sustain present spending and to honor contracts for the coming year.

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— Eye on Everett —

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(Photo by Josh Resnek)

Looking outward

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By Josh Resnek

This coronavirus epidemic/pandemic and its immediate fall-out will last a long time.

There is no way it wont, despite everyone wanting to get the country’s economy up and running again.

We are in for a very difficult social and economic period. We are at the beginning of it right now.

Whether you are oblivious to this climactic moment when our society hangs in the balance, or whether you are at home shivering with fear about the uncertainties of the future, this is for sure: all our bubbles have burst.

This moment in our lives is historic and dangerous, fraught with perils of every kind, but powered mainly by a deadly virus, unprecedented but similar to catastrophes that have befallen mankind throughout the course of known history since the beginning of time.

Here is what’s coming in the short term.

In fact, the moment is upon us and devouring us as this is being written.

Thousands of Everett residents are already without jobs, without businesses, without savings accounts and without health insurance in a very short time.

Cash disappears at a much more rapid rate than it multiplies.

This closedown is a monster movie featuring, a Frankenstein, a Godzilla and King Kong all put together with a huge cast of flesh eating Zombies.

No matter who you are, from the richest man or woman in Everett, to the poorest, your business, your property, your home, your bank account, your retirement and IRA, everything about your economic life has undergone a seismic event.

Continue reading — Eye on Everett —

Gasoline prices have plunged

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Drivers need to use common sense

By Josh Resnek

With the collapse of the world economy due to the Coronavirus, the price for a barrel of oil has tumbled to a near all time low for the modern era.

Because world use of oil has plunged as the world’s economies closed up, less and less crude oil is needed although more and more crude oil is coming into the marketplace.

When supply far outstrips demand, prices come down.

It is the way of the capitalist world.

Quick translation of the above: the price for a gallon of regular gasoline has come down dramatically and will continue to fall for the next few weeks unless something dramatic happens in the international marketplace.

In Everett, the price for a gallon of regular gasoline on Tuesday at some stations was as low as $2.19 on Broadway, and at $2.49 at the Citgo about 20 yards down the street.

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Taxes now due in July; deferred Rental payments; no evictions

Everyone sinking in same boat

By Josh Resnek

With the economy shut down, extraordinary government and business efforts to contain the damage are being announced nearly everyday.

Governor Charlie Baker announced Friday that state taxes will not be due on April 15 this year. That date has been moved up to July 15.

This is to bring the state in line with the IRS directive ten days ago to cancel the April 15 deadline and to replace it with a July 15 deadline for filing federal taxes this year.

No penalties or late filing charges will be made by the Department of Revenue or by the IRS.

The added time is intended to give taxpayers and wage earners as well as company owners added needed months to accrue what is necessary to make the filings.

In addition, many major landlords, banks and credit companies have announced reduced or deferred rental and mortgage payments for the duration of the emergency period.

Continue reading Taxes now due in July; deferred Rental payments; no evictions