Monday, February 11, 2008

FWCS Board President Redefines "Tax Increase"

Only a member of the Fort Wayne Community School board could argue that the city's decision to increase the levy by 4% is not a tax increase. You can read Fort Wayne Community School board president Mark GiaQuinta's letter to the JG here, but I also want to rebut a few of his points:
As I understand it, last summer the former City Council reduced the city’s budget by almost $4 million with no anticipation that the state legislature would cut municipal funding statewide by an even greater amount.

Anyone that didn't anticipate that the legislature was going to do something drastic regarding property taxes simply wasn't paying attention - and I hardly think our city council fell into that category. They knew it was coming but chose to play politics instead.

Mayor Tom Henry’s attempt to restore the $4 million is the right thing to do. To characterize his common-sense approach as a “tax increase” is nonsense.

I appreciate Henry for demonstrating the common-sense leadership he promised. Shame on those who would jeopardize key city services by mischaracterizing his attempt to preserve public safety and other key services we so desperately need.

The budget was passed with a 4% levy cut by the previous council. Everyone expected our tax bills to be reduced by that amount. When the new council decides to retroactively increase the levy that is raising taxes. What else could one call it? There is no mischaracterization here and no need to engage in an argument of semantics either.

I thought the previous council was acting recklessly when they voted for the levy cut but that doesn't change the fact that it passed. And it definitely doesn't change the fact that the cut was rescinded - even if it was the fiscally responsible thing to do. To most people that's tantamount to a tax increase but I guess that logic doesn't apply to members of the Fort Wayne Community School board. Let's not forget that board member Carol Coen once infamously stated that we had all received a tax break because she didn't raise our taxes...

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