Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The final straw?

The Toledo Public School Board decided to put a .75% payroll income tax on the May ballot to help them with a $30 million deficit. The City of Toledo is still considering a .25% increase to their payroll income tax to help with their $40 million (or so) deficit.

Will these people never learn?

Probably not - this is Toledo, which never met a tax increase it didn't like.

Maybe this time the voters will let these idiots know that enough is enough.

The problem is that the politicians in TPS and One Government Center are looking only at what THEY need - not at what WE need. They keep saying they need the money. In doing so, they're saying they need our money more than we do.

The TPS payroll tax will only apply to people who live in the TPS district. Do the politicians understand that people who live in Toledo actually have a choice and can maintain a Toledo address outside the TPS district? Washington Local Schools are perceived as a better school system, so if you could, why not move into their jurisdiction and instantly save money in your paycheck?

Toledo's mayor and council fail to understand that the same consequences apply to them. Toledo is already losing residents and businesses. An increase in the payroll income tax is not going to help stop that loss. In fact, it's more likely to hasten it.

Families have cut expenses in order to meet today's obligations. We really haven't seen evidence of politicians doing the same. They'll claim that everything they do is 'needed.' But we know that's not true.

Here are the general fund expenses from the most recent version of the city's budget:

2006 $234,312,215.50
2007 $242,752,864.71
2008 $240,632,123.04
2009 $249,369,653.02 (projected - actual not yet available)
2010 $241,255,794.49

The city's spending increased $8.4 million in 2007. Then, despite facing huge deficits in 2008, they only reduced spending by $2.1 million dollars in 2008. In 2009, again facing huge deficits, their budget had an additional $9 million in spending. For 2010, they're projecting much less than in 2009, but it's still more than what they spent in 2008.

The politicians will tell you they did cut spending, but if that's true, where is the evidence that the spending is truly less?

Well, they say, they cut over what it could have been. That's like you and me saying we cut our expenses because we didn't take that round-the-world trip we wanted to take, even though we really didn't have the funds to pay for the trip in the first place. Some 'savings'!

As for TPS, they can't possible have a good handle on their spending or budget. If they did, they would have known about one of their administrators (allegedly) stealing money. Yet these same people who had no idea about the thefts are now telling us they need more money from us? Talk about zero credibility.

And just how many people in the TPS district and the city of Toledo will actually be paying these taxes versus the ones who don't have any income or who are exempted? And how many who won't pay the taxes will vote for them because they have no costs associated with doing so?

Despite claims of 'feeling the pain' of their constituents, these politicians obviously don't care that Toledo has the highest unemployment of all the urban areas in the state, record foreclosures, records amounts of people on welfare, record requests for help from various non-profit and social service agencies, record amounts of requests to food banks for help, etc... etc... etc...

They still want you to pay more.

This may be more than we can take. While I was born in Nashville, I've lived here almost all my life. My husband was born in Toledo, though he grew up in Lasalle, MI. I went to Toledo Public Schools. We both were graduated from the University of Toledo. We chose to stay here. We started both our businesses here. We've purchased two homes and spent a lot of money renovating them, making both homes better than what we bought. We've invested time, money and effort in local charitable organizations. We buy things here. We hire people who live here. We've paid our taxes on time.

We're two college-educated entrepreneurs - the very type of people Toledo says it wants to attract. And if these taxes pass, we're ready to chuck it all and leave. And we're not the only ones who are considering this option. I guarantee there are others for whom this will be the final straw.

This is not because we don't want to pay to support the services we receive or because we don't love the city, the people, the location - even the weather. We really don't mind if we're getting value for the dollar. But Toledo is no longer providing that value.

Our property value is decreased because we live in the TPS district. TPS is a drain on the potential selling price of our property - yet they want even more money for their operations.

The city seems to understand nothing when it comes to growth, except the growth of government. Even Mayor Mike Bell fails to understand that giving some people raises, though the budget for the mayor's office is less than last year, doesn't sit well with people who've had no pay increases for a couple of years.

(Yes, I understand that the city has established pay rates for commissioners, directors and managers and that putting someone into those positions on a permanent basis (as opposed to 'acting') requires that they be paid according to the established rates or it gets you in trouble with the civil service commission. But they completely failed on the PR aspect, especially when asking for concessions from unions and tax increases from citizens.)

So while saying they want to have an environment that leads to growth and prosperity in the city, their actions prove they want the exact opposite - or that they are completely clueless as to what leads to success. Either way, these are not the people we want in charge of making decisions for us - and elections only give us more of the same philosophy, even when the faces are different.

So what is left? Continue bashing your head against the brick wall or leave, like so many others have already done?

The politicians are making the choice easier every day. Hopefully, voters will recognize the downward spiral and say NO!

1 comment:

James said...

Maggie, you are spot on. The problem is the voters in Toledo have never met a tax (new or renewal) they didn't like. COSI should have never passed, but the voters were stuck on stupid long enough to vote for it. TPS and the city is long overdue to learn how to spend within their means. The rest of us do it, why can't they?

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