Good News is No News

So it gets buried on the inside. Move along. Nothing to see here, folks. No front page, above-the-fold information here: Rosemead’s budget for next year will have a surplus of about $500,000. The total reserve is $21 million, which is about one million dollars more than it was before we got a new city council majority.

Being that we’re in the middle of a recession, this is no easy feat. Neighboring cities are trying to raise or extend taxes, or are making major cuts, or are doing both. The state’s budget is so out of balance, no one knows exactly how out of balance it is. The number I’ve been hearing recently is $15 billion. With just over $100 billion in the state’s general fund budget, that’s a 15% deficit! Proportionately to the city of Rosemead, we "should" be running a four or five million dollar deficit. Instead, it’s a $500,000 surplus.

Yeah, part of this is a "one-time windfall," but those windfalls don’t just happen. Just a month ago, the city was faced with having to give back nearly $600,000 to the state because they thought we weren’t spending enough on road maintenance. Quick work by our city staff meant we got to keep that money. Similarly, just a few weeks ago, the city closed on a $400,000 home. If we hadn’t spent it on the house (to be used for low- or moderate-income family housing), we’d have had to give that money back to the Feds.

There are morals to these stories–a lot of Rosemead’s money comes from state and federal grants. We need to spend the money to get the money. In other words, sometimes an increase in spending can improve the quality of life in our town without actually costing our city coffers anything at all. That’s smart government.

1/2 million surplus

A pat on the back to Rosemead officials!

If most of this surplus comes from the feds and the state, does that mean Rosemead is kind of a "welfare city"? LOL. I kid, I kid.

And, what percentage of that surplus is tax revenue from Walmart? Fair question for fair minded people.