Monday, May 10, 2021

The REST of the Story: Jackson Finances

 Jackson's coffers are almost empty thanks to white flight taking its money to the suburbs.  Such is the excuse national and local media make in explaining way Jackson's water problems.  However, such a blame game ignores reality.  Jackson gets more money than ever but managed to mismanage its water/sewer department into virtual bankruptcy. 

If Jackson would just collect the money owed for water/sewer services, it would have enough money to maintain the water system.   The accounts receivables lines on the city's annual audits spell out the problem in black and white.


 Accounts receivables are money owed but not collected.  Jackson's receivables stayed below $10 million for several years then crept up to the $20 million range where it stayed until 2013.  Unfortunately, all hell broke loose on the balance sheet in 2014 as accounts receivables doubled in only five years.  Cutting off water cut-offs might have been great politics but it was a disaster on the books as the water system went broke. The cash on hand account shows the carnage.  

Water/sewer rate increases usually generated large hikes in cash as shown on the chart.  However, as accounts receivables skyrocketed, the water/sewer system's cash on hand plummeted to zero.  Jackson literally spent every dime it had to prop up the water sewer system because it didn't collect payments.  

Jackson can't even claim declining water sewer revenues are at fault because although the number of connections have decreased, water sales increased from $42 million in 2003 to  $50 million in 2019.  


The city should be getting more money than ever from its water/sewer services as shown by this chart.  However, the failure to collect payments while spending every dime available presents a picture that is quite ugly. 


The 2019 item is correct.  The Jackson water/sewer system generated an operating loss of $17 million in 2019.  The system was a money-maker for the city of Jackson right up until 2014 when the wheels fell off the system.  

The depreciation expense was equivalent to the operating loss.  The cash flow presented a somewhat better picture. 

Jackson's overall budget does not show a city hemorrhaging cash.   Jackson gets more revenue than ever before.  The property taxes alone are nearly $20 million more than in 2002.  


The sales tax revenue remained fairly flat since 2002.  Jackson's sales tax revenue was $36 million in 2002.  It bell between $32 million and $37 million although it was $40 million in 2006 and $45 million in 2007 but those two years were outliers.  The city enjoyed a slight bump in sales taxes in 2017 thanks to the new internet sales tax diversions.  The 2019 revenue was $54 million if one counts sales tax ($14 million) and other ($40 million).  

What does it all mean? It means Jackson's total revenue from government activities is an unprecedented $242 million in 2019.   


Kingfish note: Compare the charts to some statements made by the media about Jackson's water crisis. 

Vice News

 "Jackson’s water system has been on the decline for decades.  The city relies on two aging WT facilities, one of which is over 100 years old and has limited funds for replacement.  Jackson is scraping by on a $300 million budget. "

The tax coffers in Mississippi’s blackest city  have dwindled along with its white population over the past 30 years. 

Donna Ladd (NBC Column)

 Make no mistake, the fact that low-income Jacksonians are living amid the stench of toilets that won’t flush is a direct legacy of white-supremacist thinking at the state level, not the failure of a few bill collectors in the city to collect on enough delinquent customers.


But Jackson’s tax base has been declining for years.

 Anna Wolfe (Mississippi Today)

Two generations of white and wealth flight out of Jackson has reduced the built-in revenue that officials say the water system needs just to maintain full operations, including hiring personnel — let alone to make a dent in an estimated $1 billion worth of needed upgrades.

New York Times

 In Jackson, boil-water notices are common and an enduring municipal drama has played out for decades, as white flight, an eroding tax base and poor management have left the remaining residents with old and broken pipes, but without the public funding to fix them.

The city has had a dwindling tax base for decades, after the integration of schools and other public spaces in Jackson triggered a dramatic flight of white residents. In many cases, they took their wealth and tax dollars with them.


Notice a disconnect?


 Raw Data 

Accounts Receivable

2003: $6 million

2004: $8 million

2005: $6 million

2006:  $7 million

2007: $7 million

2008: $13 million

2009: $15 million

2010: $18 million

2011: $20 million

2012: $24 million

2013: $25 million

2014: $40 million

2015: $41 million

2016: $50 million

2017: $44 million

2018:  $56 million

2019: $49 million

 Water/Sewer Cash on Hand

2003: $25 million

2004: $5 million

2005: $8 million

2006: $11 million

2007: $27 million

2008: $9 million

2009: $18 million

2010: $12 million

2011: $9 million

2012: $13 million

2013: $4 million

2014: $13 million

2015:  $7 million

2016: $5 million

2017: $0.2 million ($182,000)
2018: 0

2019: 0

Water Sales

2003: $42 million

2004: $40 million

2005: $39 million

2006: $45 million

2007: $43 million

2008: $47 million

2009: $41 million

2010: $42 million

2011: $47 million

2012: $47 million

2013: $44 million

2014: $69 million

2015: $59 million

2016: $63 million

2017: $61 million

2018: $57 million

2019: $50 million


Operating Income (Loss)

2003: $7 million

2004: $9 million

2005: $10 million

2006: $13 million

2007: $13 million

2008: $9 million

2009: $5 million

2010: $8 million

2011: $11 million

2012: $6 million

2013: ($0.9 million) 

2014: $22 million

2015: $19 million

2016: $37 million

2017: $6 million

2018: ($80,000)

2019: ($17 million)


Jackson Total Revenue

2002: $213 million

2003: $178 million

2004:  Use midpoint between 03 and 05

2005: $202 million

2006: $217 million

2007: $213 million

2008: $219 million

2009: $205 million

2010: $199 million

2011: $203 million

2012: $210 million

2013: $215 million

2014: $235 million

2015: $222 million

2016: $225 million

2017: $238 million

2018: $241 million

2019: $242 million


Property Tax Revenue

2002: $59 million

2003: $64 million

2004: $60 million

2005: $59 million

2006: $62 million

2007: $65 million

2008: $66 million

2009: $71 million

2010: $68 million

2011: $68 million

2012: $75 million

2013: $72 million

2014: $78 million

2015: $77 million

2016: $69 million

2017: $76 million

2018: $78 million

2019: $78 million


Sales Tax Revenue

2002: $36 million

2003: $35 million

2004: $36 million

2005: $36 million

2006: $40 million

2007: $45 million

2008: $37 million

2009: $33 million

2010: $32 million

2011: $32 million

2012: $33 million

2013: $32 million

2014: $33 million

2015: $32 million

2016: $36 million

2017: $14 million* Add 39 million

2018: $14 million* Add $40 million

2019: $14 million* Add $40 million



Anonymous said...

KF knocked it out of the park - suck it Donna!

Anonymous said...

The white's didn't move a single house out of Jackson when they left.

Other than some abandonment and non-maintenance, most all of the houses that were in Jackson in the 70's are still there, except they have new owners.

So, this is a management issue. Not a racial issue.

Anonymous said...

KF strikes again. Doing what any "real" journalist won't and doing what our un-elected auditor can't!

Anonymous said...

It looks to me like the looting of Jackson began in earnest under Harvey Johnson, exploded under Chokwe I, and went off the rails under Chokwe II. Problem was, they we no longer looting the white power structure, as envisioned in the beginning, but their own people.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish bringing actual facts and data. No wonder a real media site would never hire him. He actually does the work, gathers the info, and presents it to the public. It's a novel concept that is unacceptable in today's media.

Anonymous said...

Every weekend every parking lot in Madison is full of Hinds county cars. The citizens of Jackson are afraid to shop there anymore and are leaving millions in sales tax dollars in the surrounding counties. That has nothing to do AT ALL with white folks.

Anonymous said...

2:09pm, Shad was appointed in 2018, and then he ran for the Auditor position in 2019 and was elected by the voters of Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

I love these charts because they show what I have been saying: Total revenue, property tax receipts, and sales tax receipts have been steadily increasing under Mayor Lumumba. Those of us who live in Jackson see it everywhere: new construction, new businesses opening, streets being repaired. Property values in my neighborhood are up, not down.

There’s no question that there are problems with the water system. They will be fixed gradually over a long period of time. Forget the blame game, the focus needs to be on solving the problem, which I have faith will be accomplished.

Kingfish said...

No. There r some things you can simply no longer buy in Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Gotta blame somebody. Why not whitey?
Seriously though, the Water/Sewer billing fiasco has been a major issue for many years now. This is a classic case of moral hazard. When people (more and more each year) hear that their neighbors/friends aren't paying, others begin to think "why am I am the only sucker paying for water"...."no one else does, so why should I". Until the city pulls it's head out of it's liberal A&$ and get tough on delinquencies, this will get worse.

Thanks King for doing the heavy lifting for the city. If they would actually read some of your reporting, they might begin to help themselves.

Anonymous said...

Can Jackson just call their bond pimps and get some more money that way?

Anonymous said...

They, nor you, nor anyone else has any idea how much they haven't collected. Accounts receivables are bills sent out but not paid. Throngs of people never have and still don't get a bill. Throngs of people have illegal direct connections. The story of lost revenue is much, much worse than growing receivables -- MUCH worse.

Anonymous said...

2:45, it must be wonderful to live in an ignorant state of bliss.......

All the sales of Popeyes, KFC, Church's along with the tires needed for the illegal street racing won't save Jackson.

Problems with the water, why that's just tip of the iceberg that's sinking the city. These glorious upswings you're slobbering over will take a hundred years or more to make a difference. I guess that you're waiting for dopy Joe to drive up the price of gas & groceries some more with his brilliant build back plans, so you can capture the taxes off the few grocery stores remaining in Jackson to push that chart off the right side.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish's reporting and his figures will be verified when the day comes, and it will, when the state is forced to take over Jackson.

Anonymous said...

How many (quantity) constitutes one throng?

Anonymous said...

The problem with JFP, Vice, Politico, etc is they are narrative-driven media outlets. They take their narrative and then build a story around it. Donna is quite the spin master and is an excellent writer. If she didn’t spin a story around her narrative she would be a hell of a journalist. But that just isn’t gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

The Harvey Johnson years were the most crucial time in Jackson history. It was then that the city adopted the overly optimistic attitude that Jackson had the unlimited resources to make make fundamental and systemic changes overnight without negative consequence. After all, we would now involve every segment of the city. Nobody would leave and new stuff would be coming. We started biting off far more than we had the lasting resources or the expertise to chew. Now the resources aren't sufficient and the expertise is lacking. We have to learn the hard way that improvement without maintenance is the road to failure. Or are we learning?

Anonymous said...

Nearly everyone living in Jackson is wearing a small fortune worth of imported hair that they paid dearly to have elaborately woven into their scalp. This is a labor intensive process that is not cheap. Tax it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Kingfish for the honest, fact based reporting. It’s a shame that no other reporters else actually do the work to understand facts before reaching their opinion.

Anonymous said...

And then is the zoo - I still feel for the suffering animals that have no vote on their plight in life.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work and excellent, real, journalism Mr. Fish.

Very well done.

Anonymous said...

I abhor the fact that Tater signed the law that gave $3,000,000 to Jackson.

Hope we can get it back.

Anonymous said...

2:42 PM, dang, Shad's biographer right there. Congrats dude.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, I shared your article yesterday & this is the response (posted below) from a friend of mine. Can you go back in earlier years & do the numbers?

_________you’re my soul sister, but the city is not operating at some crazy record high and the leadership in this administration is not corrupt.

Even From 2002 when he starts his budget analysis - which is 30 years into white flight - the state suffers an incredible loss in revenue.

213 million dollars in 2002 is equivalent to 314 million in 2021.

So the city lost 70 million in purchasing power in this time.

Jackson Jambalaya is trying to make you think what you think right now. He knows you have a desire to say it wasn’t white flight that killed jackson and you will want to defend the white people who left - who you have no reason to want to defend. You didn’t leave. You didn’t participate in a fear campaign. You don’t have anything to do with them leaving jackson 30 years ago.

Abd there is no statistic that will tell you a different central reason for Jackson’s decline aside fron white flight legitimately because there is no other central reason.

His article was total BS designed to make you feel lied to and put upon by Whiny progressives and angry, lazy Black people who are blaming you for something they broke.

Sounds like it worked.

But that doesn’t make it true.

White flight is not a moral judgement - it is a word applied to an economic reality. It happened and there are consequences and we are collectively living with them.

Anonymous said...

I will never understand how Jackson leaders proudly blame White Flight for failures after literally telling whites business owners to be quiet as they voice saftey concerns in council meetings etc.

You are literally admitting you cannot succeed with out the people you openly hate?

Anonymous said...

11:11 There was a very real phenomenon called "black migration". It is a historic fact, but those who migrated seeking a better life were not ALL black. Some were poor whites escaping rural poverty to find better opportunity in urban areas but because the vast majority doing so were black and so many whites stayed behind in their established communities, the migration is always attributed to black people. "White flight" is not ALL
white. Black people in lesser numbers but for the same reason also leave to find a better life but because most blacks are left behind the flight is attributed to white people. I live in a new community that is mostly white, but the black people that live on both sides of me rejected Jackson crime and dysfunction just like I did. LOOKING FOR A BETTER LIFE.I find no fault in that. Do you?

Anonymous said...

@12:48 I totally agree with you. I think there are many factors that have played a part in the demise of Jackson. I still live in Jackson but don’t blame anyone (no matter what race they are) for leaving. At the end of the day you have to do what is best for you & your family.

Anonymous said...

In response to the response at 11:11: Of course "white flight" was real, and of course it had an impact on Jackson. But, it was largely an effect, rather than a cause.

Jackson's population fell slightly for the first time between 1980 and 1990, then began to fall significantly after 1990.,_Mississippi

The first 1/2 of the 1990s saw unprecedented rates of per capita homicides in Jackson, which corresponded with people leaving the city, many of them white.

There are other plausible reasons people fled Jackson, including its public schools. "Mississippi Department of Education declar[ed] an emergency situation existed and request[ed] the governor declare a state of emergency so the department could take over the district."

This as in spite of the fact that Jackson spends more per student than any other school district in the state, while spending far less on instruction, which strongly implies systemic mismanagement:

Finally, Jackson is rated as the 3rd-worst-run city in the United States (behind St. Louis and Detroit):

So, yes, I do believe that Jackson's problems are largely of its own making. It is impossible to discuss "white flight" without implicating racism, which I have intentionally omitted for the foregoing comment. Suffice it to say that Jackson's population migration hasn't just been "white."

Anonymous said...

You have pointed out yet again how total mismanagement and corruption is the true reason for Jackson’s decline, I can foresee state intervention in the future

Anonymous said...

What happened to the Siemens settlement millions?

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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