Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What a cheap political stunt!

I got a call from a friend this morning asking why people aligned with the Democratic Party would vote for a referendum that essentially ties the hands of the city on tax increases.  I got up, read this article and got pissed off, quickly.

You know, I expect Kemp Conrad to propose crap like this, that's why I am voting for Paul Shaffer.  And I would expect Bill Boyd and Reid Hedgepeth to be his Greek Chorus in support.  However, the fact that Bill Morrison, Shea Flinn and Jim Strickland voted for this Proposition 13-like garbage enrages me.

By doing so, gentlemen, you put this vote on RACIAL lines; if I had Photoshop,  I would put all of you in seersucker suits with string ties.  And Bill, after getting help from TEP and then voting against NDO, you're dead to me.

This amendment would tie the hands of the city and ensuring its death.  Bill and Shea, you probably voted for this knowing it would not pass, attempting to appease your white voters; that's too cynical for words.  Jim, you're not even opposed in this election, what the hell were you thinking? 

Let's let Brad Watkins tell us about it:

Brad Watkins, organizing coordinator for the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, said a two-thirds requirement would make it virtually impossible for the council to approve a tax increase.
"The fact is, it's hard enough for you guys to get seven votes for a tax increase," said Watkins.
We are still going to need tax increases and revenue increases whether you like it or not; if I had my way, we would have a payroll tax to put on those who live outside Memphis but work here.

We have cut all we can cut, and the fact that this cheap political stunt was supported by supposed "Democrats" is infuriating, to say the least.  Now, it looks more like they are just white folks.


Michael said...

Steve, I'm still trying to figure out how we all got the idea they were "Democrats". Where, exactly, was this written? We've worn this fairy tale like blinders these past four years. Take the blinders off, and many of the the things they've done and said look like cheap political stunts and posturing -- going all the way back to the school funding and the 18-cent tax cut.

Steve Steffens said...

Helluva good point, Mike, because they sure haven't acted like it.

My Uncle Used To Love Me But She Died said...

Mr. Cracker,

While I certainly respect you and your political intuitions to the highest degree, I disagree with you on this particular issue.

I do not think nearly all that is possible to cut from city government's expenses has been cut. First, we need to remember that elected office and acceptance of appointed (patronage) jobs are forms of public service. Elected and appointed public servants should not be earning six figure salaries. In fact, the should not be earning anything over the mid five figure range. These people should take 4, or even 8, years to be public servants and then go back to earning the high five or six figure salaries after serving A term or two, at most.

Elected officials should not receive lifetime benefits.

We could have one division of city court that is open six hours per day rather than three divisions that are open for two hours each, every day.

We could have six divisions of General Sessions criminal courts, where judges work mornings and afternoons AND some night (or nights), rather than nine divisions working about three or four hours, each, per day.

Same for circuit and general sessions civil courts.

The police could be made to obey traffic laws, thus savings hundreds of thousands of dollars in gasoline expenses. Police could be taught how to properly accelerated and help save gas and maintainance on police cars.

Police could drive something line Honda Accords or Civics, rather than gas guzzling Dodge Chargers.

Police could walk more beats, or ride more bicycles, and, thus, be more connected to the people in their respective beats, be more aware of what is going on around them, and save more money.

City road crews could do underground work BEFORE resurfacing roads. Have you ever notice how, every time they resurface a road, they come along within weeks and start digging holes in the newly resurfaced road to repair things they could have done before the resurfaced the street?

I could go and on, but I have to go back to work to try and earn more money to pay the coming higher property taxes I'll have next year.

And, you can bet your bottom dollar there'll be a new emergency that will keep the taxes at the new higher rate.

So, in closing, I see nothing at all wrong with letting us, the people, decide if we'd like to raise the bar for the council being able to raise taxes.

Keep up the good work, and I'm glad to see you writing more these days. I hope, as the CA website dies down, you sight will become more of a gathering place for Memphians to exchange opinions and ideas.

Steve Steffens said...

Uncle, THAT is the way to disagree, with crisp, concise points, many of which I agree with.

And I appreciate the request for more writing, I need to do so!

ValkRaider said...

Payroll taxes, if implemented only in Memphis, could hurt Memphis proper. I have personal experience where two of my past employers specifically located just outside a city limits to avoid paying the payroll tax that the city had implemented, despite the fact that they both would have preferred to be in the central business district. If Memphis creates a payroll tax, would small and mid-sized business move to office parks and warehouses in greater Memphis - possibly Shelby county or DeSoto county?

Since both TN and MS rely predominantly on property tax without income taxes, one nice thing to do would be to make sure that the desirable retail and services are in the Memphis city limits so that people come into the city to shop instead of driving out to Collierville or elsewhere. Why is there no major shopping destination in downtown Memphis? First major city I have lived in that does not have one, and Memphis actually has reasonable tourism so it would be a boon all around. I have been to shopping districts or malls in downtowns in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, New Orleans etc etc. Memphis needs a better shopping destination in the central city so that people can come spend a day shopping and the evening recreating, and leave their tax dollars in the city instead of driving out to the suburbs to spend money (I know people in Midtown who drive out to shop at that crappy "lifestyle center" in Collierville).

Whoah there, I went way way off on a tangent that has nothing to do with this post at large.

You know, I really don't have a problem with the super majority to raise taxes. It sounds like the problem is really with the district layouts. Nothing wrong with requiring government to be really really sure they need to raise taxes. But there is something wrong when the representation doesn't accurately or effectively represent the population due to tricky tricky district drawing...

ValkRaider said...

oops I meant to say:

"Since both TN and MS rely predominantly on sales tax without income taxes"