Spend It If You Got It. Or Don’t. This Is Government, After All.

In St. Louis, the Metro mass transit authority has gotten a new sales tax it cannot wait to spend, so it’s increasing its budget:

Metro commissioners on Friday approved a $232.4 million transit operating budget that reflects the restoration of public transportation service following the passage of Proposition A.

. . . .

Still, the agency’s budget reflects growth over last year’s spending level of $204 million.

Friends, that is a whopping 15% increase in a recession.

Baer said sales tax collections already were down $5 million because of the recession. Passenger revenue also is down because of a recessionary drop in ridership. Further, Baer said, the state reduced the emergency appropriation it made to restore some service in August 2009.

Okay, so let me get this straight:

  • Existing sales tax revenues are down.
  • The existing gap plugged by “emergency” one-time (ha!) stimulus funds is down.
  • The amount collected from riders is down.

And Metro increases its budget All the better to cry poverty again in five years when it wants to increase its sales tax, my dear.

Responsible government at its normalest.

Also, focus on this nugget:

Passenger revenue also is down because of a recessionary drop in ridership.

Never again let anyone promote light rail or mass transit by saying that it’s more economical than a car and helps move passengers in a recession.