Wharton: Council Budget Cuts Won't Fix Pension Woes



Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said he stands by his original budget and that moves Tuesday by some Memphis City Council members to cut the budget “won’t yield the savings” needed to meet some major financial obligations.

  • Wharton

Council members Shea Flinn and Jim Strickland said Tuesday they want to put $60 million this year into the city’s ailing pension plan, instead of the $35 million proposed by Wharton.

Flinn and Strickland proposed numerous cuts to the mayor’s budget Tuesday, the first day of budget hearings for the council. The proposed cuts to new positions, travel expenses, funds for training and conferences, and more. They said they wanted the money saved from each cut be sent straight to the pension fund.

But the plan won’t work, the mayor said in a Tuesday-evening news release.

“While we welcome council’s involvement in this effort, some council members are taking the approach of cutting line items from individual division budgets,” Wharton said. “Unfortunately, this approach will not yield the major savings needed to meet our pension and (other post-employment benefit) obligations. We are confident that our proposed budget is good, doable, avoids threats to public safety, and avoids a tax increase.”

Wharton encouraged council members to “take a fair and balanced approach” in their budget talks and “make decisions that have the least impact on core services, and positions us for a more stable financial future.”

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