City of Jacksonville Being Undone Not by Budget Woes But by Sweepstakes Games!

Like a ton of U.S. cities, Jacksonville, Florida is facing a big fiscal hole, in this case a $60 million budget deficit. The reason is not hard to fathom: Despite increases in revenue, increases in spending have been way, way, bigger.

Costs will jump 35 percent over the next five years, according to city estimates, though revenue will only go up 10 percent....

The Police and Fire Pension Fund is arguably the expense most firmly in [Mayor] Peyton’s scope as he continues to push pension reform, citing the cost as one of the city’s biggest expenses.

The city’s contribution to pensions for all employees was about $40 million when Peyton took office. This year, it’s $110 million.

“You’re spending more and more every year just to stay afloat,” said Robert Weissert, general counsel and communications director for Florida TaxWatch, a Tallahassee-based nonprofit that analyzes government spending.

TaxWatch studied Jacksonville finances in 2008 and its report was highly critical of pension spending. It recommended 401(k) style plans instead.

What a sad story, especially for the folks in Jacksonville who aren't in the pension fund or in the other positions that are making out so swell. Good luck on getting that defined-contribution plan in place, boys and girls, because you're going need it.

So what's a city to do? Well, how about clamping down on internet cafes that are accused of being little more than ways for people to gamble? There's a bunch of such joints that charge $12 an hour for online access and give customers hundreds of "sweepstake entries" whose results are displayed via mesmerizing digital displays that are shockingly like slot machines. Hence the Jacksonville City Council is crafting new legislation creating a

PROHIBITION ON THE USE OF SLOT MACHINE-LIKE SPINNING REELS, VIDEO DISPLAYS OR SIMILAR TECHNOLOGY TO DISPLAY THE RESULTS OF A RAFFLE, SWEEPSTAKES, CONTEST OR OTHER PROMOTION...

Thank god, some legislators are really still on top of their game, despite chronic budget shortfalls.

Hat tip: Curtis Wolf.

As Jacksonville's greatest gift might ask, What's that smell? Don't look down, Jacksonville voters, 'cuz you're steppin in it. If only more legislators took 'ludes, no?

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  • robc||

    Ive said for years I dont understand why any EVER used defined benefit retirement plans instead of defined contribution. This is from both sides. For the employer, this provides good budgeting, for the employee, it provides protection from employer bankruptcy. Union can negotiate contributions as much as it does benefits, so dont see a difference there.

  • The Mossy Spaniard||

    I beg to differ on "Jacksonville's greatest gift", which was clearly the Allman Brothers Band.

  • SIV||

    They were from Macon GA, which gave us the greater gifts of Little Richard and Otis Redding

  • ||

    SIV,

    I think they're from Daytona and formed the band in Jax. However, Skynyrd is the superior band.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Your last sentence is just...wrong, man. Just wrong.

  • ||

    No, it isn't.

  • robc||

    Yes, it is. Not that there is anything wrong with Skynyrd.

    In both cases, they are hollow shells of what they were when key members were still alive.

  • The Mossy Spaniard||

    I'll respect anyone's opinion on who the better band is, but to say the ABB is currently a "hollow shell" strikes me as a dim view. Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes on guitars, Oteil Burbridge on bass...there is some heavy-duty jamming going on with ABB.

  • ||

    And I agree with your praise of Macon's finest, especially Mr. Redding.

  • The Mossy Spaniard||

    "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay"...finest whistling ever committed to tape.

  • ||

    As a member of Jacksonville's press corps and as someone who was at the city council meeting -- the same one where a city council member asked a Muslim professor seeking appointment to pray to his god during open questioning and the affirmation of no bid contracts as the norm -- it is refreshing to hear the great liberty defenders take my city to task.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    "asked a Muslim professor seeking appointment to pray to his god during open questioning and the affirmation of no bid contracts as the norm"

    Huh?

  • ||

    Ahmed Parvez, a former professor of mine at UNF, was asked to pray to "his God" during his appointment to the Human Rights Council, presumably because he is a Muslim and former chairmen of CAIR.

    And, the city also approved an almost $500 million 26 year landfill contract without an open bidding process.

    None of these three things have anything in common, except the local government is governing.

  • The Mossy Spaniard||

    They did indeed record and live in Macon during the Capricorn years, but prior to that move they were based in the Jacksonville area (which, unfortunately, would later give us Molly Hatchet).

  • Butts Wagner||

    Limp Bizkit is from Jax. Nuff said.

  • MIke Laursen||

    Oh, youth. Suggest you get on the YouTubes and type "Little Richard" or "Otis Redding" in the little search box.

  • ||

    Women do get woolly.

  • Butts Wagner||

    While admitting a certain nostalgia for Three Dollar Bill, Ya'll, Jacksonville is a town I do not abide.

  • awful waffle||

    that smell in jacksonville is the paper plants and the coffee roaster downtown. not pleasant at all.

    anywho, we in jacksonville know where this legislation is coming from... the same oppressive force that stopped a humble gay-pride parade from happening. It seems that the true anti-freedom force in Jacksonville isn't so much as our easily persuadable city commissioners, but rather those two blocks down... the first baptist church.

  • The Wolf||

    I agree about First Baptist. But the government does this kind of nanny state government paternalism for a lot of reasons that may or may not have anything to do with religion.

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