By Virginia Korte
I want to thank all of you who took the time to respond to my May 2nd e-blast regarding the most fiscally responsible way to address the city’s deteriorating infrastructure. The number of responses was significant.
Most of those who emailed me were already aware of the pros and cons of raising the sales tax rate as opposed to using general obligation bonds, backed by property tax, to fund the more than 90 capital improvement projects the city desperately needs.
Nine out of 10 people who responded supported using bonds.
The overwhelming majority of respondents said they are concerned that four councilmembers chose to place a proposal on the November election ballot to raise the city’s sales tax. Many concluded that raising taxes was an unnecessary and half-baked idea based on political expediency. I agree.
I joined two of my Council colleagues in advocating the use of property taxes to back general obligation bonds because bonds accomplish everything that raising the sales tax does, including receiving matching funds for transportation projects, without raising your taxes.
Unlike increasing the sales tax, using general obligation bonds would have been totally transparent. Voters would have known what projects were being funded, when they were being funded and when the projects would be completed. Unfortunately, none of that transparency is provided through raising the sales tax.
I am sorry to say I believe voters will be asked to approve a tax increase which I will not be voting for in November.