Somebody’s watching Big Brother

For too long, tax and spenders have had a free ride in local government.  That gravy train is over and they are screaming:

Big spenders abound in E.V. government
Paul Giblin, Tribune
Big spenders abound in government halls across the East Valley, according to a government watchdog group that analyzed the spending habits of county and municipal officials.

…“A lot of these city councils have been entirely under the impression that nobody is watching, that there’s no spending limits.” said Tom Jenny, executive director of the foundation.

The foundation’s first county and municipal scorecard produced some unexpected results.

For example, most of Mesa’s council members were christened as friends of big government. At the same time, all of Scottsdale’s council members were named either ally of the taxpayer or friend of the taxpayer.

Mesa Mayor Keno Hawker said the foundation’s analysts need to attend a few Mesa City Council meetings, because their conclusions are seriously flawed.

“I am not a friend of big government…” Hawker said.

Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross said the scorecard validates the Scottsdale council’s careful attention to budget matters.

…The federation’s rankings of Tempe’s elected officials ranged from “not bad” to “friend of big government.”

…The scorecard has a few shortcomings, Jenney said.

First, analysts compared each government’s 2007-08 budget and tax policies to its 2006-07 budget and tax figures. So, councils or boards that made moderate increases to previously bloated budgets or excessive tax rates escaped detection for their previous spending binges.

A truer picture will emerge after several years of tracking, Jenney said.

Second, analysts had no means to objectively score the impact of local government “boondoggles,” such as over-priced arts centers or new extravagant City Halls, because even excessive expenditures are camouflaged by much larger overall city budgets, he said.

Similarly, the impact of “corporate welfare” handouts and tax abatements awarded to business owners and developers are hidden within multi-million-dollar municipal budgets.


  1. Hats off to Tom Jenney and a great service by the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers for putting this valuable information out!

    I know that several local elected officials have been talking and worrying about their ratings.

    This should make a dent in influencing the taxpayers on the performance of their elected officials.

    View the scorecard here:

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