Sunday, January 27, 2008

Is this a contradiction?

An editorial in today's Blade says that calls to defeat Toledo's 3/4% payroll income tax are wrong, considering the serious impact such a defeat would have on the city.

But then they say:

"We have argued over the years that the surcharge should not be made permanent, as is the 1.75 percent payroll income tax, but that renewal should be required from time to time specifically so residents can express their opinion on how the city is run."

Their point seems to be that we should only threaten non-renewal during better economic times.

But how then, would that express our opinion of how the city is being run?

If the renewal is only challenged when it's not needed - or when the city might be able to absorb such a cut in funding - then it isn't a valid tool for forcing change or providing feedback about dissatisfaction with spending.

This temporary tax has become a necessary portion of city revenue only because the council and mayor have become dependent upon its constant renewal. They continue to spend as if this money will always be there, and they appeal to the fears of citizens by threatening police and fire as the first cuts if the tax is not renewed.

Rev. Floyd Rose, and several callers to my Eye On Toledo radio show, have urged the defeat of this tax because they believe it is the only way to actually get the attention of the elected officials. If other methods had proven successful and we were actually seeing city government be responsive to problems and concerns, such levy opposition wouldn't be materializing.

Calls for defeating the levy should be a wake-up alarm for all our elected officials - but if various editorial boards and organizations (community and unions) support this levy as is, it will provide cover for the elected officials to continue in their current ways and will give them the excuse to ignore the demands for change.

Another thing to consider is that support for the status quo may backfire by energizing the over-taxed and frustrated citizens who are considering opposition to this measure.

If voting for the tax is the method for expressing dissatisfaction with the way the city is being run, I believe it is a contradiction to say that citizens should only do so when the city can survive the impact of the defeat.

For years, dire consequences have been the only prediction for the defeat of this tax. If the city has become so dependent upon this tax that dire consequences are the only option if it doesn't pass, maybe it's past time for us to vote no.

5 comments:

The A-Hole Lawyer said...

Let the fear Mongering Begin

Well it has begun! In response to a visiting civil rights leaders call for black citizens to vote against the renewal of the .75% income tax the Mayor has begun his fear mongering. Scare voters into believing that without the tax - fires will rage, criminals will rein, and garbage will choke the streets alleys and driveways of Toledo. The Blade Article outlines the Mayors comments on the recent call for a no vote to the tax renewal.

Please. The Mayor knows that the best way to insure the voters of Toledo will renew the tax is to scare them into it. Notice he does not claim that without the tax he may have to

1) Reduce the size of his staff.
2) Stop purchasing real estate in the failed Southwick Mall
3) Disband his fleet of ambulances and turn the service back over to private business
4) Trim the budget of entitlements and pet project give aways like lights for the trees downtown, or flowers, or Toledo Pride signs displaying his name.

There are lots of ways the City could and should reduce its spending and leave police fire and garbage alone.

But instead, right out of the political handbook - he spreads fear and insults anyone who dare challenge his control over the purse strings.

Vote no. Make the City trim the fat -- perhaps starting with his Honor.

The A-Hole

Hooda Thunkit said...

"Vote no. Make the City trim the fat -- perhaps starting with his Honor."

Problem is that czarty doesn't see HIS projects as fat, which is clearly a misperception on his part.

And, because they are HIS projects, he automatically gives them the highest priority, even in front of essential (and charter mandated services).

And, just how much effort has been taken towards lowering this "temporary" tax?

None, IMNHO.

This alone tells me that the administration has grown very fond of this temporary measure and counts on it passing every time that it is presented to "We the Sheeple."

Too baaaaaahhhddd, but not this time.

Maybe, just maybe, if they tried for a smaller renewal; but that'll never happen (willingly, that is)...

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

It amazes me that the Blad can argue in the same editorial that making the tax temporary is a good thing in order to allow citizens to express an opionion on the operation of the city, then follow it with condemnation of one of those citizens when it occurs. So much for the newspaper as the defender of the "little guy" and champion in the war against big government and the status quo.

As for the Mayor's response to the comments made by Rev. Rose...
One can only point out that the threat of violence, real or implied, by his dire warnings of the turmoil that reducing the budget would cause used to be called by a different name in years past: "Protection Racket".

Robin said...

I don't like the way that the money that I pay in city taxes has been spent. I think that the mayor and council have been foolish with it. Why should I encourage even more foolish spending?

Frank said...

Well, I am planning on defeating the levy when it comes up in March (and November if it passes). No matter what Carty, City Council,or the Blade tell me what "might happen" if it fails, they need to look very deep into the budget of the city and drop the pork. As others have stated, there are countless means to lower the budget and really get Toledo back on its feet.

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