Never let a crisis go to waste.
Missoula is going to have one helluva crisis on its hands, sooner rather than later. It’ll certainly happen before the next municipal election next fall.
We’re going to see a major reshuffling of the people we elect to represent us.
Let me ask you a very simple question: Where is the city going to get money?
Well, 54% of all the city’s revenue comes from two sources: taxes and service charges.
$89 million out of the total $189 million budget.
So what’s the problem?
People aren’t going to be paying the same amount of taxes they once did, and they sure aren’t going to be spending money they don’t have on city services.
In 76 days, Missoula is going to be out of money.
That’s when June 30th rolls around...the fiscal year end.
What on earth is the city going to do? I don’t know...and I don’t think they do, either.
What should Missoula be doing right now?
Simple - slash the budget by 30-50% right now while eliminating all non-essential spending. At the same time, taxes must be cut.
Sound draconian? It’s what The Hill recommends.
That’s what a business would do if it was in this situation, with its life on the line. It’s simply the only way they could survive.
We know the government will survive...but what about the people in it?
First of all, we must eliminate government workers, not temporarily, but permanently. Second, we’re going to see our elected officials head toward the door so they can get back to the ‘safety’ of the private sector, where they won’t be criticized. If they do decide to stay around, they’ll be defeated in their next election.
We’re in a depression. An economic depression that those elected officials created.
The people on the Missoula City Council? Most every single one of them will be gone in two or four years. The mayor? He’ll be gone. The county commissioners? They’ll be gone.
When businesses aren’t open, they don’t make revenue and they don’t pay taxes.
Missoula is heavily in debt, and pretty soon they’re going to run out of cash and when they try to issue bonds, no one is going to buy them.
Then we’ll see the true nature of our ‘leaders’ and we’ll realize they have absolutely no idea what to do when they run out of other people’s money to spend.
The good news is that we’ll get new people in office that actually have ideas.
I suspect many of these will be former business owners, people that spent their life building something that made them a profit.
This is exactly what Missoula has needed for years. Remember, this used to be a conservative town before all the timber and paper jobs vanished.
Of course, we’ll see none of this...for now.
Our ‘leaders’ simply do not have the economic acumen to realize the problem that’s on the horizon.
Last year, Missoula raised taxes by 8%, or $3.8 million.
The city’s total budget was $188 million, and city staff ate up $71 million of that. Operational costs are another $58 million.
The city refuses to publish the 2020 budget on their website, so I’m going to dig into the 2019 budget to tell you the city’s revenue sources.
People don’t have money. They have no savings. What they do have is mortgage debt, student loan debt, credit card debt, and auto debt.
Paycheck to paycheck...and those checks stopped coming in weeks ago. Many that are still getting checks won’t be in a month or two.
It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours.
These people with no savings and tons of debt...do you think paying property taxes is going to be real high on their to-do list?
In fact, I think many of them will leave their homes when they can’t make the mortgage payments and the banks kick them out.
Do you think the banks are going to pay those property taxes to Missoula?
The banks were out of money last fall. Remember the repo markets?
So the only one left is the state, and they don’t have enough money, so then it’s the feds and the Federal Reserve.
Printing money out of thin air. Massive inflation.
That 401k you spent the last few decades building? It’ll lose most of its value because the currency will devalue.
Some guy that just lost his retirement...do you think paying property taxes are going to be real high on his list?
What is Missoula going to do in a few months?
They have no idea.
It’s time for new ideas, and new leaders.
Never let a crisis go to waste.