Your Opinion: Taxes and trust
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Taxpayers have said no to transformation tax, fire department tax, library tax, and increased taxes via annexation. The theme seems clear. Some projects may be worthy of additional expenditures but taxpayers see the additional taxes a unnecessary and/or a money grab by the City Council, mayor and Chamber of Commerce. Trust seems to be a big issue.
The pattern seems to be that elected officials don’t listen to us. The lack of trust may stem from the fact that voters say no to projects and additional funding but, funds are still found for projects.
Examples: The fire department sales tax failed but, $815,000 was found so they could buy needed equipment. The library increase failed but they found existing funds to do their projects. Much concern has been expressed about building a costly conference center yet the council and mayor are still pursuing this tax-draining project. These actions seem to perpetuate the issue of public distrust.
Instead of waiting for other tax increases to come along, maybe we taxpayers should become proactive and use the initiative petition process to repeal some taxes. While there are some legitimate needs for our tax dollars, these precious dollars seem to be dedicated, allocated, and spent on “wants” instead of “needs.”
We have a sales tax dedicated to parks and yet they still get other funding from the city revenues. Why? We have miles of Greenway — a great addition — but, we need better roads. Parks people want to build a multipurpose building. Again, a good idea provided it doesn’t come with an indoor pool and health center to compete with the YMCA and other privately owned health centers. Maybe the parks tax should be repealed and replaced with a lesser tax after this project is completed.
Maybe the special capital improvements tax should be repealed and re-enacted as a general tax so it can be spent on maintaining existing infrastructure. The lodging tax funds can be spent on tourism without building a conference center. Maybe the lodging tax should be repealed so we don’t end up with a conference center we can’t afford.
I still don’t see why parks and conference center proponents don’t work together, pool funds, and build one building with multiple floors.
Maybe if we repealed some taxes and elect new public officials we can redevelop trust and insure that our tax dollars will be spent wisely.