JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After Mayor Alvin Brown unveiled Jacksonville's money blueprint Monday, a budget that totals $945 million in spending but also millions in cuts that will cost the city jobs, he spoke about his plan on The Morning Show on Tuesday.
It's the smallest city budget in four years. Brown said he is intent on making sure that Jacksonville doesn't wind up bankrupt like San Bernardino, Stockton and Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
"Jacksonville's not going to be like Stockton, Calif., Harrisburg, Pa.," Brown said. "We're not going to be a part of America's failures. That's why I believe we have to protect the hard-working taxpayers, really focus on living within our means, make sure we have a government that's more effective and efficient and accountable and responsible to the taxpayers."
"I think the private sector is the engine of our community, not the government," Brown added. "By working together, we can really put Jacksonville back to work. I'm going to continue to do everything I can to fight for small business owners and entrepreneurs, who are the backbone, heart and soul of this community."
The mayor is keeping good on his campaign promise to hold the line on taxes despite the budget shortfall.
He talked about how to generate revenue for the city.
"One, focus on things that make us a destination, attracting new companies here, helping business grow," Brown said. "You got to get things on the payroll of the private sector, really putting people back to work, stabilizing our market. The housing values have gone down a lot in Jacksonville, property values have dropped, revenues have dropped."
Brown said the city has to deal with the contentious pension issue that is hamstringing the city, and he has a plan.
"You've got people who built their lives here, families here, worked hard, paid their taxes every year, and can't afford it," Brown said. "So what should we do as a city? We really should focus on the thing that's driving our cost, and that's pension. We're going to do pension reform. It's not an option."
Now that the mayor has sold his budget vision for Jacksonville, it's up to the City Council to make the next move. Debate begins in earnest and the city has to have a budget in place by Oct. 1.
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