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The Beginning of an Unsettling Trend

Year after year, Mayor Martin Chavez has been spending with reckless abandonment. Last year, it became clear that his fiscal irresponsibility was finally catching up with him. This year the projected budget shortfall for Albuquerque is more than double what was predicted last year (subscription):

A recent budget forecast estimated the city would face a $50 million shortfall next year if no budget adjustments were made. And that was before the mayor announced 5 percent raises for firefighters and double-digit raises and other financial incentives for police to boost recruitment— expected to cost around $10 million altogether.

But Chávez says not to worry: The city can pay for it all by holding the line on other expenses.

“At the very first sign of (an economic) slowdown, we stopped filling positions,” Chávez said.

The $50 million projected deficit is based on many assumptions, such as incremental increases in most expenses. Instead, city programs will see a “lack of growth,” Chávez said.

Am I the only one who finds it hard to believe they’ve got it under control when deficits continue to increase?