These are challenging times for the City of Miami and for its residents. The economic perfect storm - an economic meltdown, the worst since the great depression, leading to a significant decline in housing values, a record number of foreclosures, the highest unemployment rate in decades and substantial drops in consumer confidence and spending, has made this the most difficult budget year that I have had to face since taking office eight years ago.
My budget includes a large number of layoffs. During these difficult economic times, the last thing we want is to add our employees to the ranks of the unemployed. But we must also deal with reality. The City and the taxpayers cannot afford and will not be able to afford the current cost structure.
However, most of these layoffs can be prevented if all of the City’s Unions to come to the table and make the sacrifices that must be made. We are asking no more, and no less, than that which is being asked of every employee everywhere, in order to keep their jobs: Salary and pension concessions.
We simply cannot continue to place the economic burden with the tax payers.
There is no question that sacrifices must be made. The question we have to answer is who should make these sacrifices. Should it be those whose salaries and benefits are paid by the public? Or, should it be those same people who pay our salaries and who today are hurting economically, losing their jobs and homes or in fear of losing their jobs and homes and taking salary cuts?
This is the time to decide: does the city serve the needs of the people? Or do the people serve the needs of the city?