Warwick Tea Party Budget Analysis
At the Warwick School Committee meeting last night–in a virtual repeat of Monday night’s City Council meeting–residents and students voiced their dismay over the idea of cutting school activities, including sports, to make up looming budget deficits. Perhaps the most insightful, eloquent and forceful defense of sports was given by former Pilgrim standout and Syracuse University football player Emerson Kilgore, who is now an assistant Principle in Providence. All will get another opportunity to let all of the entities hear it at 6 PM on Thursday night, when the City Council, Mayor and School Committee will meet over the school budget.
In anticipation of the meeting, the Warwick Tea Party has provided their analysis of the 2011 Warwick City Budget (Download file). According to their research, since 2004 Warwick taxes have continued to increase with the majority (57%) of the increase going towards city-side (municipal, fire, police, etc.) spending, not schools. In 2011, 91% of Mayor Avedisian’s proposed cuts are from the school-side of the budget. Overall, if memory serves, schools account for approximately 63% of the city budget.
That being said, the WTP’s analysis also confirms what we all know: most of the area ripe for cutting is in employee salaries and benefits in ALL departments, by far the largest line-item in ANY budget–private or public sector. That doesn’t necessarily mean firing anyone, just pay freezes, step freezes and implementing fiscally responsible health care and pension plans NOW, not in 2012.