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New city income tax increase in my town...some statistics

by Steven Haninger / August 4, 2009 7:19 PM PDT

Sad to say, I forgot about this one. It was a special August vote to increase the income tax by .5 % because of "the economy"....basically meaning that unemployment had reduced income to a point that some services were threatened. The voter turn out was around 18% and the measure passed by 3050 votes which. As such, it took less 10% of eligible voters to pass the tax increase. The mayor claimed victory for the city.

I was mixed on this one. The campaign was justifying the increase due to the rate holding steady for 27 years. But wait....it's based on citizen income. This means revenue increased dramatically over the years of high inflation and wage growth but has become stagnant over the past decade. So what?! That's what income based taxes do. What I would think fair...since it was the "economy" that necessitated this infusion of money....would have been to write the tax proposal to return to previous levels when and if the economy improves. Anyone think that a booming economy would cause this to happen? Doubtful, IMO. Happy

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Do your City Councils invest their income?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / August 4, 2009 8:53 PM PDT

The Councils in the UK do, or rather they did. Many of them invested in Icelandic Bank savers schemes that offered well above average interest rates.

When Iceland went bust last year, (the whole did), those Councils lost millions each. It's just another scandal that hit us last year, and now we're paying increased council rates, (local taxes), to make up the shortfall.

None of the investors lost their jobs though, it seems, but many councillors lost their seats in local council elections earlier this year.

Mark

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Govt' thinking
by Willy / August 4, 2009 10:38 PM PDT

We have the same system in my home town. As you mentioned, it worked for many yrs. but now it can't as unemployment is a root cause of lost revenue. Even so, as you figure 27yrs. a long time when it worked. But what happened in those 27yrs.? More pgms., expenditures, public works, state and federal demands, etc., you get it, and still lost revenue. Plus, more likely that not, people get the picture and move out, again lost revenue.

The big thing here is to raise fees or taxes to pay for other services using some vital service to do that. In other words, refill the general fund but strip the "intended fee/tax" for its original use. That is something I don't like and see it as a backdoor entry into your wallet. Here, we pay a tax for trash collection now they want to add a fee on top of that. Further, to save $, they want to use a more automated trash p/u(new trucks, etc.) which will save money. But, in the meantime costs get pumped-up and I see no saving and if it does save, the initial costs suck-up any saving. Its time to cut to the bone, or cut-off a leg or arm, IMHO. There should have been hard decisions to be made yrs. ago and now when no money does it become an issue on top of all the other issues. -----Willy Happy

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