Tuesday, February 05, 2008

City Council Budget Cut Redux

During tonight's discussion on the property tax increase councilman Glynn Hines rightly pointed out that councilman Pape was a co-author (along with former councilman John Crawford) on the original ordinance to cut the levy. Hines wanted to know why Pape had changed his mind and Pape responded by saying that when the facts changed he had to rethink his position.

The facts never really changed and I personally spoke before council and told them it was fiscally irresponsible to cut the levy without cutting taxes. I'll have video of that as soon as I can, but here's what I wrote at the time:
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...

It sure didn't take too long for me to be proven right. You simply cannot cut taxes without cutting spending - this is Government 101 folks. And Pape shouldn't be the only one singled out here as every member of council voted for the levy cut.

This council meeting was the same one that councilman Tom Hayhurst lashed out at myself and the other citizens that spoke before council and basically said he knew way more about all the issues than we did...

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