Walker: City Council Must Reject Tax Increase–Corrects Walsh’s Criticism

David Walker, the former U.S. Comptroller General who warned about Washington’s reckless spending habits well before the national economy hit the rocks, writes “It’s time to get serious about putting Bridgeport’s finances in order.” Walker, a resident of Black Rock, posted his comments on OIB in response to former City Councilman Bob “Troll” Walsh who had questioned Walker’s commitment to task as a national fiscal watchdog. Walker, in his OIB post, corrects Walsh about the role of the Comptroller General. See Walker’s comments to Walsh below:

You obviously do not know me nor what the Comptroller General position is. The Comptroller General is in effect the “Auditor General” and head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

I was the most visible and aggressive Comptroller General in history. For example, I took on Vice President Cheney regarding his Energy Task Force, spoke the truth on the “war” in Iraq, and blew the whistle on the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush Administration and the Congress. I also transformed the GAO to make it smaller, more effective, and more respected.

As Comptroller General I also served as Chair of the National Intergovernmental Audit Forum. This Forum was for the heads of all federal, state and local auditors in the U.S. Therefore, I know a lot about local fiscal and accountability issues.

Finally, I have spent hours with John Marshall Lee reviewing and discussing Bridgeport’s finances. In addition, I have attended two City Council meetings dealing with the budget and Charter revision. I also plan to attend other public meetings in the future.

Make no mistake, Bridgeport must not raise taxes. President Obama‘s latest budget was rejected in a rare bipartisan vote of 414 to 0. Mayor Finch’s proposed tax increase should also be rejected. This is a litmus test for City Council members. It’s time to get serious about putting Bridgeport’s finances in order.



  1. Mr. Walker, let’s try this again: Ron Mackey // Apr 11, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Once again, David Walker, the former U.S. Comptroller General, “Based on my limited review of Bridgeport’s finances, it is clear there is room for significant spending reductions. For example, some of the City’s pension plan designs and City’s current retiree health care plan benefit structure are unreasonable, unaffordable and unsustainable. These plans need to be restructured to cut expenses.” Bob Walsh has it right, this is his way to do away with the City’s pension fund for firefighters and police officers.

  2. David Walker’s Comeback America project is underwritten by Peter G. Peterson who is a billionaire based on his involvement with Leveraged Buyouts (LBOs) in the ’70s. David Walker’s boss was Commerce Secretary under President Richard Nixon. Peterson used borrowed money in an inflationary period to grow wealthy. During Mr. Walker’s entire term, the USA borrowed money to balance the budget. David Walker is now bragging about being a toothless tiger. Maybe that works in Black Rock but not in Bridgeport CT USA. Put another way, David Walker is being subsidized by the exact same process he is ridiculing. If David Walker wants to eliminate pensions he should run for Mayor of Bridgeport in 2015.

  3. No matter what, David Walker’s time investment in trying to help solve Bridgeport’s financial problems is advice the local government should pay careful attention to. We are fortunate to have Mr. Walker as a resident.

  4. Mr. Walker “based on my limited review of Bridgeport’s finances, I cannot afford a tax increase. Therefore they must be able to cut spending.”
    ‘Nuff said.

  5. LFG,
    What advice? He didn’t offer any unique perspective or solutions. All he said was there must be some spending that can be cut! Don’t raise my taxes!!!
    That is what all B’port taxpayers have been saying for the past 20 years.

    1. The advice is implied because he is offering to sit down with the mayor/city council. On one side, he is another resident who does not want to see his taxes go up. On the other hand, there are many valid points as to why this may hurt the city more than help it.

  6. *** Damned if you do and damned if you don’t at times in “DA PORT,” no? To achieve anything worthwhile in an urban city like Bpt takes money, however to get better political control for the sake of money only takes empty promises. *** FLATLINE TAX INCREASE ***

  7. And what does our clueless leader Bill Finch say when the taxpayers say we can’t afford it?
    “I am asking you to afford it.” What the F is that supposed to mean? I’m asking you to afford it. MAKE IT AFFORDABLE!!!
    Cut salaries and benefits for nonunion workers. Cut salaries for nonunion workers who choose to live outside the city by another 10%. Eliminate the new positions you created after your election and eliminate more. Then come back and ask if that was enough.

  8. Oh and while you are at itm grow the God Damned Grand List and quit whining about how big the city is or how much land is not taxable. Do your God Damned job and quit whining!!!

    1. Reaper: Maybe Bill Finch should move to Black Rock. I hear the rich and privileged over there do nothing BUT whine. He certainly is privileged, and by now, he should be reasonably well off. BAM, he qualifies.

  9. And since I have hijacked the blog tonight, what is with Vallas and his BOE finance advisory committee? It is bad enough over half of the state-appointed board lives outside the city, now they appoint a board dominated with more out-of-towners without children in B’port schools. If you ask the typical BRBC member how did their business save money they would tell you they moved out of Bridgeport. And if you ask them personally how do they save money they would tell you they moved out of Bridgeport or never lived here to begin with. And IMHO Bill Finch and Paul Vallas are the only people impressed by the Think Tank known as the BRBC!!!

  10. Vallas got $7,000,000 from the Calamarians. How much of that money will be spent on lucrative goods and services contracts? It’s time we took a good look at that. Vallas is transparent and he is shameful. Promoting Fabrizi into a highly influential post as his key adviser. Really!!! Seriously??? Fabrizi, a consummate educator lending competent thought to the renaissance of the Bridgeport educational system. How much must we take?

  11. Reaper, Ripper and yahooy,
    I have no children in the school system either but Fardy, BOB volunteers and I have opened up some administration wounds that are currently bleeding. If you don’t push the envelope with more curious questions rather than personal accusations, Finch wins.
    First the schools have been flat-funded for Finch’s term. His justification was he didn’t trust them to spend the money wisely. With all the connections this Mayor has with DTC, jobs, and other administrative leverage, most people understand he was blaming his left hand (BOE) with his right hand (as Mayor). Pretty ridiculous.
    Job-cutting claims show more than 75% during those years were from BOE. And the Mayor claims not enough power? Needs more accountability? Call in a Charter Revision Commission?

    What needs the most significant review in this City? The process by which money is budgeted, reviewed, authorized, monitored, audited, etc., I would suggest. New Haven gets their budget at the beginning of March and has 90 days to work on it. They have a legislative research team. They have some experience with respectful Mayoral dialogue that grants the important power of the City Council, instead of undercutting it, failing to inform and allowing conflicted behavior to flourish.
    So, Vallas’ idea of fiscal review of the education budget seems like a good idea assuming the group is diverse, financially competent and has demonstrated integrity in the community in the past. What power or authority will that group have, also? That’s pretty important. Time will tell.

  12. Let me offer Mr. Walker my humblest of apologies. From the manner in which he speaks and carries himself about, I was obviously ill-informed as to his role in DC. I mistook him for a key decision maker, an important policy implementer, a player so to speak. Instead I guess he is much more of a referee. Running up and down the sidelines announcing what he feels is fair or unfair.
    And here is a shocker for Mr. Walker; the comments he made about his stance on Iraq and Dick Cheney are only of consequence to people inside the beltway. Those of us outside the beltway never heard of nor cared for Mr. Walker’s policy opinions.
    The only question I have for Mr. Walker is how does he take his … red or black? Not budget projections but scotch, straight up.

  13. Not me, Andy.
    I stand by what I said.
    You on the other hand will praise his wisdom until you figure out he wants “your” pension changed, not future pensions.
    Then you’ll be reaching for some Mr. Walker Black.

    1. Bob & Ron, they can talk about changing my pension all they want but they cannot do it. Besides, the pension plan A people are dying off every day. Sure their widows survive but they get 50% less than what was coming in.
      What it takes is the mayor to put in the money per year that is necessary. Unfortunately he has not been doing this for the past four years.
      Since I reached 65 I went on Medicare as my primary provider and the city coverage is secondary, that results in a savings to the city as they are no longer paying for city insurance to be my primary coverage.
      If you look at the pension, what they are putting out is the cost if they had to pay everyone on plan A a lump-sum payment. That number would be high but unrealistic.

  14. For the third time, Mr. Walker said, “Based on my limited review of Bridgeport’s finances, it is clear there is room for significant spending reductions. For example, some of the City’s pension plan designs and City’s current retiree health care plan benefit structure are unreasonable, unaffordable and unsustainable. These plans need to be restructured to cut expenses.” Mr. Walker, please explain and perhaps you can inform us why the City and yourself want to dismantle union pension plans? Maybe you could tell us what the City did with the money that was paid by firefighters and police officers (8% of their weekly pay) that was placed in the City’s General Funds for decades?

  15. Thank you, Ron.
    And let’s not forget the role politics played in all of this pension mess. John Stafstrom was the one who sold the city on the idea of bonding the pension debt. No need to pay it out of the general fund with its peaks and valleys. Bond it, invest it wisely and level out the annual payments.
    Of course that is not what happened. The city began thinking with a more aggressive investment philosophy they could actually make money on this deal and look like heroes.
    The economy went in the tank. The investments dried up. And we are all thinking about a little Walker for a chaser.
    The Police and Fire Unions are not that concerned because they know the city has the legal obligation to make good on the pensions and there is no reason to mess up the current contracts over talk on the bygone pensions.


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