Not once in the article did they mention how much the county makes, or spends.
Back in May, we discussed this a bit.
One of the main problems is that the county budget is so much harder to read than the city budget. At least the city gives you pie graphs of revenue and expenses. The county does not.
But if you do go to page 12 of the 471-page budget, you will find a summary.
There we learn that the county is spending nearly $190 million a year.
The county brings in about $175 million a year in revenue.
That means we have a budget shortfall of $15.4 million.
The final part of the Missoulian article goes like this: “The Missoula County budget will be finalized on Sept. 9. County usage of American Rescue Plan Act funds will begin on Sept. 9 and go through a separate process.”
What happens when that federal money runs out? At what point will the county commissioners get serious about the serious imbalances in the budget?
And I’m sorry, but taxing our way out of this simply will not work. The gas tax was going to bring in $1.1 million before the legislature got rid of it. The proposed marijuana tax will net just $300,000 or so.
Where’s the other $14 million going to come from to get our budget in order?
It’s not going to come from anywhere. The reality is that it’s not a revenue problem, but a spending problem. The county is spending too much money, and they show no signs of stopping.
That means the situation will only get worse.