That's the only outcome one can expect from saying that today's budget deficit for the city is very much like 1982. And don't forget, back then we had a massive - and perhaps, illegal - strike that burned property and resulted in the death of a bus driver.
Back then, a Republican and a Democrat got together and promoted the idea that the only solution was to approve a 'temporary' .75% increase in our payroll income tax. That 'temporary' tax was approved and has been 'permanent' ever since.
Now, Mayor Mike Bell is saying that his proposal for a temporary .25% tax is really temporary. But if that's the case, then why does the ordinance provide for a renewal?
SECTION 1. That subject to the approval of the electors of the City of Toledo, as provided in Section 718.01 of the Revised Code of Ohio, Chapter 1905 of the Toledo Municipal Code be amended as provided in this Ordinance to provide for the levy of a one quarter of one percent (1/4%) temporary tax on income for the period commencing June 1, 2010 and ending December 31, 2012 unless renewed by the electors. Subject to the approval of the electors of the City of Toledo the additional 1/4% temporary income tax shall be allocated for Police, Fire, and other Safety Department responsibilities. (emphasis added)
If everyone were really serious about this being only for two years, there would be no such renewal provision in the legislation.
But take a good look at The Blade article. What you see documented are the same problems we're facing today. Back then, the costs of labor contracts had skyrocketed and unions didn't want to have any cutbacks, costs of government had skyrocketed and politicians said they'd cut everything they could. The only solution was a temporary increase in the amount of money the city government took from its citizens.
Here we are, in 2010, with the exact same problems: contractual labor obligations that cannot be sustained, increased costs in government with politicians telling us there's nowhere else to cut and a mounting campaign to make us think that the only solution is to take more of our money so government can continue to grow.
It worked so well in the 1980s - why not repeat it again today?
But look at what actually happened. If we have the same problems today as we did in back then, the solution to increase taxes did not solve the problem. If it had, we wouldn't still be grappling with it now.
Raising taxes is NOT the solution, in fact, it's part of the problem.
The focus on finding a 'solution' to the deficit means that politicians and the Mayor's Citizens Special Investigation task force are asking the wrong questions. And if you ask the wrong questions, you get the wrong answers.
Everyone is looking for ways to get more money to the city of Toledo because the city doesn't have enough to pay their obligations. Of course, if your task is to raise revenue to the city, your best solutions will be tax increases, fee increases and maybe some cuts in spending.
The major issue Toledo faces is not really the deficit. In fact, the problem isn't that the city doesn't have enough money. That's only a symptom.
Our city is in decline and is taking everything along with it. As a result, we have fewer residents, fewer businesses, less employees and lower wages in the remaining businesses, declining property values, a declining school system, more bankruptcies, more home foreclosures, more people dependent upon welfare and food stamps and other government handouts, less of a tax base and less funds going into the public coffers.
The only answer being suggested is to take even more money from the citizens and businesses who are already suffering so. But that 'solution' will, not surprisingly, lead to more people leaving, more businesses failing (due to less customers), more unemployment, further decline in property values and even less money into the public coffers.
The very solution they promote contributes to and hastens the decline they seek to arrest.
So rather than ask the wrong question (how do we get more revenue to the government?) they should be asking 'how do we help promote the growth of the city?'
If we're interested in promoting growth, we do the exact opposite of what is being proposed: we LOWER taxes. We reduce regulations; we reduce fees; we cut government - which is a drain on the economy - to the bone; we make it easier and more profitable for businesses; we try to put more money into the pockets of citizens rather than into the government; and we encourage the private sector, not the public one.
These are the things that lead to the growth of a city and, subsequently, the increase in tax collections the city is so interested in achieving.
But if no one is asking the right question, we'll never get the right solutions - and we'll continue to face these same sets of circumstances over and over and over again.