To the editor:
All right, all right, everyone calm down. Now it is truly time to tamp down the hysteria which is emanating from the extremes on both sides of this volatile issue. Taxes: that single word which can send certain individuals over the edge of insanity, simply due to the fact that common sense has seemingly vacated their thought processes. There are those who think any new tax is sacrilegious and a crime against humanity, just as there are those who feel the government should constantly have their collective hand in one's pocket 24/7. Neither side is even remotely reflecting a blip on the common sense radar, as it should be.
Let me start by stating that I am a Conservative Republican, notice I didn't say Republican, I said Conservative Republican, there is a world of difference between the two. The word conservative is key here, as you will see. As a conservative my belief is that government, whether it be local, state, or national is responsible for only two things, 1. Security and 2. Infrastructure. I do not, nor have I ever, believed that government should be involved in anything else, period. Now, let us look at the taxes being proposed by the city in the here and now. 1. Public safety (security), and 2. Infrastructure (roads/capital improvements). Now, applying my Conservative Republican principles to this situation there is no reason I should find any issues with this new proposal. It is being done to generate funding for the two core issues I believe in.
For me to speak out against such a proposal I would have to betray my very own belief system. I choose to be true to myself, and believe me; I have given this quite a bit of thought. There are those who will rail against any new tax, and there will be times I will agree with them and join the fray, but not in this case. This proposal was made to improve public safety and infrastructure, it is not a money grab to pad the salaries of those some people just simply love to hate, city employees. As I said, this funding is being dedicated to security and infrastructure; i.e. public safety, roads, equipment to maintain this city, etc. Do I feel that the way it is being levied is fair and equitable? To this point I honestly feel that it is being applied as equitably as possible. If not, I am open to suggestions as to how to levy it more equitably.
So, how did we arrive at this point? Simply stated, it is due to the fact that the last group in total control of this city was grossly inept. The mindset which they applied was shortsighted and inflicted stealth carnage upon this city which is now emerging for all to see, leaving the current administration in the unenviable position of attempting to deal with such a stark reality. No one foresaw the collapse of the real estate market which began this downward spiral, no one. Anyone who claims they did should be pronounced an economic genius, and looking around I don't see a single soul who can claim they were prepared for such a mammoth downturn, either personally, or professionally. The city's reserves were raided to give the appearance of fiscal responsibility; in essence the proverbial "can" was kicked down the road. Well, the bill has come due, and if we want to dance we have to pay the band. Contracts have been, or are being renegotiated, departments have been streamlined, and the city's workforce has been vastly reduced. All steps I, as a conservative, would have insisted upon prior to any discussion even being remotely contemplated concerning new taxes.
Well, these conditions have been met, so what are the city's options?
It appears we have two. The first is to stay the course and hope the real estate market rebounds to the point that revenues produced via ad valorem taxes will eventually overtake the revenues needed to maintain public safety and infrastructure. Does anyone really believe this will happen in the time frame needed in order for the city to not fall hopelessly behind, possibly costing the city triple the monies to put things back in order?
The second is to bite the bullet now in order to maintain what we have. I choose the latter, due to the fact it will be more cost efficient in the long run. The long run, a simple yet important phrase, and one that was wholly ignored by a prior administration causing all of us to be in the position we find ourselves in now. Yes, speaking as a Conservative Republican, sometimes new taxes are needed, and though not palatable, are acceptable.
This is one of those times.
Do I want to pay more in taxes, of course not, who does? Yet, this is one case they are sorely needed in order to "save" monies in the over the long haul. I choose to think of it as an investment in the future. Think about this one obvious yet very simple fact. Everything in our collective lives has increased in price, everything. Gas, cable, groceries, and anything else one can think of. The very same market forces are at work concerning city governments. Is it truly prudent, or even sane, for an individual to think that the cost of infrastructure and public safety would be immune to these market forces that have affected all other aspects of our collective lives? Is it? Well, that's my two cents, although adjusted for inflation; I suppose it is my four cents.