Whether it was increased spending on frivolous or unmandated items, perpetual increases in property taxes in the name of 'the children,' new licensing requirements and threatened closure of businesses they don't like, or the actual takeover of private business in order to generate 'income' for the city (yes, they actually think that's what happens), there was bound to be a impact that could be measured in objective terms.
And that's exactly what was shown during yesterday's Toledo City Council Finance Committee Meeting.
According to the handout:
"Business Net Profits for the month of September were 17.31% lower than the same month last year, resulting in a year-to-date decrease of 24.67%. We expect no improvement in this category until the economic cycle clearly turns the corner.
The Individual Net Profits category for the month of September was down 21.83% from the same period last year. The year-to-date result is still in the -13% range."
While I will not discount the partial impact that the national economy has on us locally, even when Ohio's and the nation's economy was good, Toledo was losing population and businesses. The local politicians like to blame everyone but themselves for this, but the evidence is clear.
Toledo is losing not just the businesses, but also the revenue from those businesses.
And despite looking at a deficit that is now estimated to be around $10 million, our expenditures are up: overtime by fire, refuse and police; salaries and wages; pension costs; and utilities account for most of it. Even medical costs are higher, though they are still within the budgeted amounts.
It's the spending, stupid.
But still it's not the fault of the politicians. No, they expect that the local economy will improve when the 'broader economic climate' does. However, such an expectation requires the 'willing suspension of disbelief' and the ability to disregard the historical evidence. For about 20 years, Lucas County has led the state with the highest unemployment numbers of all the urban counties - and that's through good and bad economies and both republican and democrat presidents and governors.
And they would never admit that their socialist, anti-business policies, rules, regulations and laws have anything to do with it, even though reversal of such would certainly have a positive impact on tax collections.
Unfortunately, upcoming legislation in Toledo doesn't seem to reflect the lesson waiting to be learned. Whether it's shutting down businesses if they violate a more restrictive noise ordinance or putting new restrictions on convenience stores as an alternative to better or more enforcement of existing laws by our police department, or moratoriums on home day cares, Toledo City Council seems poised to take their anti-business stance to the next level.
This is not business friendly. One can only hope that the impact on what they consider to be 'their' checkbook, i.e., the city's general fund, will eventually make them change their ways.