Retirees say Mayor Wharton is flip-flopping on budget cut promise

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s been an emotional week for Betty and John Russell. John served 27 years on the police force, and now they’re scrambling to find out what to do about healthcare coverage.

When they watched the mayor’s news conference on WREG Tuesday and heard him say nothing is definite about these benefit cuts yet, their jaws dropped.

Betty reached out to us, saying, “Have y’all not seen this letter? Why is it not out in the news media?”

A letter dated June 27 was sent out to city employees and retirees mapping out their options for health insurance in the wake of these budget cuts.

John added, “It’s in black-and-white. It’s basically telling us what you’re going to do.”

It seemed pretty definite to them. They say the mayor is sending mixed messages.

But Joe Saino applauds the mayor on his recent budget plan. He’s a retired engineer and budget watchdog who says these cuts are long overdue, and taxes were not the right option.

“It’s still a tax and that’s not the answer the answer is to cut back.”

Some criticize Mayor A C Wharton for moving forward on big investments while the employees are dealing with this, but Saino says these are two different parts of the budget.

“The money for the capital budget is normally financed by bonds. You don’t want to be issuing bonds to pay off pensions that’s what bankrupted the city of Detroit.”

The Russell’s are hopeful a more middle ground option can be agreed upon that helps spread the hurt around, and not just on the public employees.

Betty said, “They just came in and said it’s over and that’s the scary part.”

4 comments

  • Socialism in Action

    Saino says big investments and pensions are 2 separate parts of the budget. That is like saying a fee is not a tax. Government can only get money 2 ways, taxes or IOU’s. In this case the IOU has the word Bond printed on it. If you can borrow money to buy Sears, you can borrow money to pay pensions. It is BORROWED money either way. As any fool that has a credit card knows, when you borrow money, you pay back more than you borrowed. I think anyone who buys a Memphis bond has rocks for brains. The only surprise to most is that this Ponzi scheme has lasted about 10 years longer than most expected. Memphis owes money for pensions, healthcare, salaries, parks, police and fire personnel etc etc. There is only ONE WAY to get money and that is the taxpayer. Either raise taxes or file bankruptcy because there is no other solution. I don’t care if it is a tourist fee, a football stadium fee, or gates at the city limits to collect a toll, it is a tax. The citizens of this city caused this by electing these socialists so deal with it. The unions contributed to get these people elected, and that includes fire and police. This is whose campaigns you contributed to, deal with it. As Margaret Thatcher said: The only problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other peoples money.

  • 1midtownmike

    If AC gave a flip, he would be wearing suits from Burlington Coat Factory and his chauffeur would be driving a hatchback.
    Smooth talker…….still full of B$. Memphis had to chance to clean things up by electing Chumney 7 years ago, but she wasn’t the right color….Herenton was reelected and here we are in 2014 with Wharton falling on the sword of past tomfoolery all in the name of racial solidarity.

    Memphis is a racist city. That’s why the tax base continues to diminish.

  • Just Saying

    This is a prime example of elected officials need to be elected for qualifications not color of skin. Wake up Memphis just because they’re the same color as you does not mean there going to stand by you!

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