The problem seems simple, with a simple solution. Because of certain hiring practices during the 90s, we have unfunded pension liabilities that ran away with us. In order to meet them without going bankrupt, we need to extend a temporary sales tax increase, set to sunset in 2023, into 2033. If we don’t do this, we’re in trouble. Council saw fit to declare a fiscal emergency for this, and got this on the March ballot with a unanimous vote – the only way to get it outside a general election.
The problem is, we currently also have a council that certainly doesn’t act like we have a budgetary crisis. A few hundred thousand for a coyote study, to tell us what we already know. A few hundred thousand for the first few months of their rent control board, a program nobody ran on. A million or two for Metro bike shares, when a private company is willing to pay us for the privilege. All in the last year.
And let’s not talk about their plans of combatting homelessness – which sounds increasingly like building a home for everyone that stumbles into our city. A bottomless solution for a bottomless problem.
Meanwhile, they not only push for all this, they plan on pushing a business tax increase in November.
It’s reminiscent of a drunk asking his dad for rent money, and then going and spending it on more booze. Worse, he goes and tells everyone at the bar what a big jerk his dad is, when he should be cleaning up and getting a job.
So in urging a NO vote on CC, we are really having a vote of no confidence in our current council and its profligate spending. It’s time to tighten the purse strings.
Of course we’ll expect to hear the usual scare tactics – outsourcing the police department, cutting vital and popular services. This council does it anyway, even without this budget issue. Budgets are priorities, and they reveal theirs with their threats.
The good news is, a future council is free to ask us to pass it again. Since the sunset isn’t until 2023, we have a few years. A future council can put it on the 2022 general by majority vote. Or they can unanimously declare an emergency again, and hold a special election for this at any time.
We’re told such a special election is a bit costly – about $100,000 to run. But we agree that some things are worth the cost.