The Toledo Blade has an editorial blasting councilmen Frank Szollosi and D. Michael Collins for their decision to leave city council's meeting Tuesday rather than vote on a tax increase, giving Mayor Carty Finkbeiner a tie vote to break ... which would have resulted in said tax increase (even though they're calling it a 'fee' for trash service).
While it is a fact that these two men 'ducked' a vote, they were not, as the editorial claims, ducking their duties.
To understand this, you must first know what the duties of council are. The editors of the paper obviously believe council has more of duty to spending and making sure the city doesn't curtail it, but rather increases taxes so it can continue ... than council has to their constituents.
I, however, believe that council's duty is to us, the taxpayers and citizens of Toledo. We have spoken loudly and clearly enough that at least half of council understands that obligation and was willing to vote against a tax increase, especially in these difficult economic times.
If the only way that Collins and Szollosi could fulfill their duty to the TAXPAYERS was to walk out and, therefore, prevent a tie vote that would have resulted in a tax increase, then kudos to them for using this procedure to protect our wallets!
Their 'higher' duty is to represent their constituents, not to perpetuate a bloated, bureaucratic, overspending Toledo government that doesn't understand how to truly live within their means - or, rather, OUR means.
I don't, for a minute, believe that these two members of council don't want to balance the budget, as the editorial claims. They do want a balanced budget - they just want to do it via means other than additional taxation. And they should be praised for this approach, rather than vilified by The Blade and the mayor for not allowing a tax increase to go through.
I'm not sure, but has The Blade ever met a tax increase, fee increase, or property levy it didn't like? Would their record show they consistently support increasing the costs, scope and size of government, to the detriment of those of us who pay the bills? Could their past and current positions on such matters be part of the problem for why people flee this area for lower-cost/better-service jurisdictions and why politicians believe they'll have 'cover' for lack of fiscal prudence?
Toledoans know, despite what the editors want them to believe, that Collins' and Szollosi's action in preventing this vote was more in line with their best interests than allowing the city to increase taxes would have been. And they'll remember the positions all members of council took when it comes to decisions on election day.