THIS IS NOT ->Delawareliberal


Monday, October 23, 2006


Ramone's developer friends provide the sheet music and Romone sings like a bird

For a guy who tries to pass himself off as a businessman, Ramone sure has some fuzzy thinking when it comes to facts and figures.

From Ramone's News Journal Q&A (#10):
"The state should not have moved the salaries of DelDot employees over to the TTF in order to balance the budget years ago. The monies in the TTF were the road improvement projects, not for the use of DelDot payroll. The state must begin to return monies raided from the fund so we can pay for our needed repairs. If this is done over the next ten years, then we will be able to continue our needed repairs while not raising any of our fee’s taxes or charges." ()

Did you catch that?

The state must begin to return monies raided from the fund...

Ramone thinks if we fire enough DelDOT employees, transportation deficits will be cured in ten years.

Notice that Ramone does not once suggest cutting back on spending. More on that below.

However, Ramone's theory - "Employees are the problem" - is the exact opposite of what was found by the KPMG audit requested by Tom Wagner last spring.

The KPMG audit points out that DelDOT in fact had implemented a hiring freeze, and as a result turned to hiring consulting engineering firms to complete design work for new projects.

Then in his most recent negative mailer Ramone changes his tune slightly.
He no longer mentions employee payroll but instead refers to salaries as "operating and administrative costs:"

"The transportation trust fund has been raided to cover operating and administrative costs. Now there is no money to complete desperately needed road projects."

The point is fair enough - operating and administrative costs should not be pulled from the TTF. But this is old news ever since the KPMG audit last spring. Ramone is just jumping on the bandwagon here and is not bringing anything new to the table.

But who exactly created this situation? Let's consult the "big heads":

"Rep. Roger Roy, R-Limestone Hills, said it wasn't just Hayward. Lawmakers were focused on keeping cash spending and borrowing at a 50-50 ratio to protect the state's credit rating. [See, Mike Ramone, maybe there's a little more to this finance stuff than you figured!] They did not hesitate to add more projects to the state's "wish lists" because things seemed to be going well.

'We didn't think there was a problem because we kept putting money in and Nathan kept getting work done,' he [Roger Roy] said."

Now remember that Ramone has no plan for cutting spending or reprioritizing new road projects. Compare Ramone's position with Karen Peterson discussing the TTF deficit:

"The $2.7 billion gap between costs and revenues exists only on paper. The Transportation Fund list of projects is a 'wish list,' not a 'to do list.'
There are many projects on that list that will never be built (and do not need to be built). The first step in eliminating the 'gap' is to develop objective criteria to determine which projects actually need to be done to improve traffic flow or to address safety issues."

Sounds like Karen Peterson needs to give Mike Ramone some business lessons about prioritization.

- G. Glass

THE BOTTOM LINE:The big new road projects are only "desperately needed" by Ramone's developer friends who want to keep building sprawl and letting taxpayers figure out later how to pay for the mess. Romone's "business man" act is nothing more than fronting for people who think stuffing tax money in their pockets is a birthright.

Sure there is a hiring freeze now, after the shit hit the fan.

How much has Deldot grown since Tom Carper moved the admin budget into the TTF?

How many millions of road dollars went to pay for new office buildings for deldot?

Ramone is 100% right, the Deldoat admin budget belongs in the general fund.
the Deldoat admin budget belongs in the general fund.

That's going to happen with or without Ramone. The issue does not belong to Ramone.
"That's going to happen with or without Ramone."

Prove it. Prove to me that they're going to move the budget out of the TTF, after they've spent 10 years moving it in. That's nonsense.

In that district, you have Sokola who has at best sat by and allowed the budget to move into the TTF without a fight and at worst is complicit in its doing so, and you have Ramone, who says it needs to be done now. I'd say this is an excellent issue on which to state some of the case for Ramone.

And Jason -- Walk around your town and tell everyone you see that the only people who want road improvements are developers. Tell me what happens.
recent negative mailer

prove it - post it.
Prove it. Prove to me that they're going to move the budget out of the TTF

Both Ramone and Sokola are for this. Neither one can do it overnight.

Sokola had very little ability to affect the outcome and is hardly a fall guy here. The departure of Hayward and Roy is a new beginning. The TTF solution will include cutbacks, and modest fee increases should be on the table too.

Reprioritization of road projects is already underway, but that's not even on Ramone's horizon.

tell everyone you see that the only people who want road improvements are developers.

Like Ramone, you are confusing "improvements" and "repairs" with the major new road building that too often does little but subsidize developers and enable more sprawl.

Walk around town and ask people if they want a big new highway in their backyard. Ask small business owners if they want new bypasses constructed.

Ask wny Ramone's list of campaign contributors is so heavy on road builders and new home builders.
Both Ramone and Sokola are for this.

Why wasn't Sokola for it last year? Or the year before? Or the year before? Why now, only at election time, is he for it?
Why wasn't Sokola for it last year? Or the year before? Or the year before? Why now, only at election time, is he for it?

Why, the answer is right on your own party's website. Roger Roy is just BURSTING to answer this question:

Recent reports that have appeared in the Delaware media, often including comments from DelDOT Secretary Nathan Hayward, indicated that state lawmakers knew of the impending shortfall and did nothing to prevent it. This is inaccurate. Legislators, including ourselves, were not aware that we were going to need to make some changes to the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) until 2005 when Secretary Hayward indicated there was a shortfall.

What other legislator spoke out in any timely and meaningful way against this TTF funding maneuver?
...not to mention the reason legislators were forced into a corner on TTF funding is in large part because the Republican caucus is also unwilling to raise taxes to pay for the new roads that subsidize sprawl. And the R's are particularly loath to raise taxes on the developers and individuals who stand to benefit the most from the roads.
1 - Roger Roy is not on the ballot, and I am not shedding tears. Also, that answer is poppycock. If you were a legislator, and you didn't know there was a problem, it's because you didn't want to know. I'm not even a legislator, and I knew.

2 - The D's control the Senate and the Governorship, and it's the R's fault? Please.

3 - We don't need to raise taxes. We were #4 in per capita spending in 2004, and the budget has gone up $500,000,000 sinc then.

What we need are legislators with the backbone to cut some of the fat from state government instead of taking the easy way out and going to the taxpayers.
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Sounds like its lights out for Sokola.
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