Councilmen John Crawford, R-at large, and Tim Pape, D-5th, proposed cutting the city’s 2008 tax levy – the amount of property taxes collected by the city – by $3.7 million.
As a way to cut spending to finance the tax cut, Crawford proposed eliminating 10 vacant police positions and five vacant firefighter positions next year, which would save more than $900,000. Other proposed cuts equal about $200,000.
This is a welcome sign considering both supported large subsidies for Harrison Square. However, the proposed tax cut is not followed by an equivalent cut in spending and this is a bad idea - they claim that the difference in revenue and spending would be made up from the city's cash reserves. Unfortunately, the city is facing a mountain of debt and the truth is we don't have any reserves once you take into account the unfunded pensions, combined sewage overflow fixes, etc.
Don't get me wrong, Crawford and Pape should be commended for trying to find ways to reduce spending and taxes. But the fiscally prudent decision would be to match the tax cut with appropriate spending cuts. If this is not done then the city will surely find themselves in a more financially precarious situation in the future...