Hotel-tax receipts fell between 2001 and 2004, and the property-tax take trended down from 1994 through 1996.
Bruvold thinks there can be some other savings. For example, Andrea Tevlin, the independent budget analyst, pointed out that if nonunionized City employees take a voluntary 10 percent pay haircut, there could be a savings of $1.4 million. “That isn’t much,” says Bruvold, but it might substitute for library and recreation-center slashes that voters hate.
All told, three things are clear: (1) The downturn will be worse than the City has planned for, (2) revenue estimates are too rosy, and (3) one way or another, labor costs must go to the guillotine, but politicians are afraid that if they dare tell the truth, they will get their own heads chopped.