Suttle defends record in State of the City

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January 21st, 2011

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Jim Suttle said he has restored fiscal order to the city of Omaha

Omaha, NE – Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle defended his record in his State of the City address Friday morning. The Mayor spoke just days before Omaha votes in a special recall election on whether to keep him in office.

“I’m in an unusual position standing before you today,” Suttle said. “We are poised to pull out of this recession in better shape than most cities across the country. We have restored financial to our city of Omaha for the first time in years. We are balancing budgets, mending broken pension systems and saving taxpayers millions of dollars.”

But, he continued, “the reality is the financial stability we have secured in the last several months could unravel if our city faces a series of leadership changes in the months to come.”

Suttle used a significant portion of his address to make his final pitch to voters. He said instability in leadership at this time would hurt the city’s chances to fully recover from the economic recession.  Suttle also defended his decision to raise taxes, the primary complaint of his critics, saying he has restored fiscal order to the city.

“We raised revenue to overcome a $34 million shortfall in our budget this year. It was not an easy decision for me to make. But if we waited until the economy was better, we wouldn’t have kept our AAA bond rating, our interest rates would be higher, and we would be looking at bigger payments on entering this new budget cycle for the years that followed.”

“Delaying an increase in revenue by holding off on inevitable expenses,” he said, “ignoring decades of infrastructure concerns, waiting for pension reform, may have been a safer political move for Jim Suttle, but it would have cost the taxpayers more in the long run.”

“ I was not comfortable with that type of decision.”

Suttle said tax increases would have been inevitable, no matter who had been sitting in the Mayor’s office. A recall election has been scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 25, after more than 28,000 validated signatures were collected to oust Suttle from office.

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