Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday roundup

* Whenever you hear a politician say "revenue enhancements," you need to translate this government speak. "Revenue enhancements" for government mean "income subtraction" for you.

So remember: revenue enhancements = income subtraction.

* Karen Shanahan has a second 'fact-checking' piece on Keith Wilkowski, this time having to do with his record on taxes. It must have attracted some attention because his prior history of voting in favor of tax increases was a key question at the Chamber of Commerce candidate forum.

According to The Blade, Wilkowski 'defended' his vote by saying "the circumstances are totally different."

Mr. Wilkowski was a Lucas County commissioner in 1989 and 1990 and joined a 3-0 vote on Dec. 7, 1989, to raise the county’s portion of the state sales tax from 1 percent to 1.5 percent, which brought the total sales tax to 6.5 percent.

The tax increase, enacted in two 0.25-percent increments — one continuing, one to expire after three years, was overwhelmingly repealed by voters in May, 1990.

Mr. Wilkowski resigned from the board of commissioners later that year to become the city of Toledo law director...

Mr. Wilkowski told the moderator, Blade ombudsman Jack Lessenberry, that “the circumstances are totally different” and that a tax increase now would hasten Toledo’s loss of population.

While it is true that Toledo's population has declined since the 1970s, I don't believe the situations are that different, as Wilkowski says. In both cases the governmental jurisdiction 'needs' the money to pay for the things the politicians believe the public wants.

I would have been more impressed - as would, I believe, many voters - if Wilkowski had said he'd learned the lesson about raising taxes because the tax he voted for was overwhelming rejected by voters.

But he didn't. He justifies an action contrary to his current words by saying 'it's different.'

Karen also has a post with Wilkowski's complete answer on the tax question as well as some questions of her own. I'm very glad that Karen has done these fact-checking posts because it's clear the local paper and televisions stations aren't going to bother.

* A failure to implement planned tax decreases is an increase. There is no way politicians can get around this fact. When the Ohio House voted to 'delay' the planned roll-back of taxes, they increased the tax burden for all of us. It's just like politicians (Republicans and Democrats) to decide that they need your money more than you do.

* This article about a park being considered for designation as one of the darkest places on earth caught my eye. In the late '80s, Sam and I did a trip to the Bahamas during his spring break. Along with several friends, we chartered a sailboat and ended up at the Northwestern tip of Great Guana Cay in a delightful bay just where the island is the most narrow.

This was the first time I'd been anywhere 'remote' and that first night anchored in paradise, I wanted the sun set and then went down below to help fix dinner. Shortly, though, it was pitch dark and Sam called me on deck to see the sky.

I'd never seen so many stars in my entire life and I was awestruck. I kept saying, "I know there are billions and billions (yes, in Carl Sagan imitation for he was big at that time) of stars out there, but I never realized just what that would look like." I could even see the Milky Way, though at first I thought it was just some high, thin clouds blocking the view.

So, I can only imagine what the sky looks like at night in Gallaway Forest Park. Interestingly, the only two places currently designated this dark are Natural Bridges, Utah, and Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania.

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