City Budget

Phoenix can meet its pension obligations, maintain city services, pay its bills, and foster organic growth all without raising taxes.

Phoenix can meet its pension obligations, maintain city services, pay its bills, and foster organic growth all without raising taxes. We just need a Mayor that is willing to make the hard choices, set priorities, and then balance the checkbook. Something small business owners do every day.


As mayor I will say -

NO, to the Food Tax!

NO, to new taxes!

NO, to tax hikes!

NO, to new GPLET subsidies for out-of-town developers!

NO, to taxpayer funded stadiums!

NO, to pet political projects!

NO, to new bond debt!


Instead of staying focused on innovation and efficiencies in core city services and meeting its obligations to our first responders and city employees the city council passes the buck in favor of special projects and subsidies for their developer buddies.


When that decision comes back to bite them in the pocketbook, instead of cutting that bloat in the budget, politicians cry poverty to the working families of Phoenix and demand they give up more of their hard earned money or risk losing core city services. This cycle of spend, threaten, and tax must end.  


I propose switching the city to a more transparent and accountable priority-driven budget process, as recommended by the Government Finance Officers Association. This method resets the budget back to zero every two years, instead of just accepting the previous budget’s spending levels and then adding more to it. The core city services (public safety, infrastructure, clean and reliable water delivery, and sanitation) and the pension obligations would receive the top priorities for funding. From there any additional projects or programs are prioritized based on available funding, community need, desire, expectations, and previous results.


Using taxpayer funds for the stadiums of billion dollar sports franchises will never be a budget priority. I love our local sports teams, but as long as they are demanding the public subsidize their stadiums… I cannot cheer for them.


As mayor, one of my top priorities will be to fulfill our pension obligations and quickly pay down those liabilities, ultimately avoiding the projected $2.3 Billion in interest payments. See my Pension Crisis Plan for a more detailed analysis of the pension debt.


Every budget cycle agency directors, project leaders, and department heads submit a “cut list” to the city council. This is blueprint of what and how they would cut spending within their department, without risking core services, if a reduction of 10% was needed. Until a priority-driven budget process was implemented, I would accept the “cut list” at 3% from each and every department. That 3% cut would be shifted to paying down our current pension debt faster, to avoid $2.3 Billion in interest payments we won’t be able to afford.


It’s just 3 pennies. Every time a politician calls for a new tax they say “it’s just 3 pennies.” If it is so easy to keep taking 3 pennies from working families, it won’t be hard for the council to cut 3 pennies.

Sarwark for Phoenix

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