Phillips: 2015 Scottsdale bond program is ‘lipstick on a piglet’

To paraphrase an old saying, if at first you don’t succeed, try a different angle. This is what your Scottsdale City Council is doing to you, the taxpaying public.

Guy Phillips

Guy Phillips

After two failed property tax bond attempts, they rallied the troops and decided to try again. Pretending to be fiscally responsible, they reduced the size and cost of this new bond tax and managed to get six votes to move it forward. I alone dissented and I will tell you why.

Don’t be fooled! If the last bond election was lipstick on a pig, this new one is merely lipstick on a piglet. Just because they reduced the size and scope doesn’t change the real reason they want you to tax yourself.

It’s is not about doing worthy projects that are sorely needed. We can do that anytime with taxes already collected from you. Currently, there is over $20 million in the unreserved fund balance, an account holding overpaid taxes the city didn’t use. Add to this contingency funds, which is money set aside for emergencies in each department.

Then there are budgets for each department to carry out their respective responsibilities to the citizens, as well as federal, state, county and intergovernmental grants and matching funds.  If we are short on cash to do these bond items why didn’t the departments come forth during the budget talks?

Because it’s not about the projects! Look at a few of the so-called “crucial” items they want you to tax yourself for: Sidewalk repair for the millionaire residents at Optima by Fashion Square? Shouldn’t the developer have paid for that? Why you? How do you benefit? How about bike lanes on McDowell? Who asked for that and why is that so crucial? Or maybe Firestation 613, which we have been dangling in front of the public’s nose for years when in reality we were already planning on building it!

Did you know that the state allows municipalities like Scottsdale to raise your secondary tax rate by 2 percent each year through council vote? If these items were so crucial to Scottsdale’s survival why didn’t council just go ahead and vote to raise your tax?

The reason is two-fold. One, because they aren’t necessary or crucial, and two, because politicians don’t have the backbone to raise your taxes as it doesn’t bode well for them at election time. It’s better they trick you into voting your own tax increase and then can say they didn’t raise taxes — you volunteered!

No, it’s not about the projects. Okay Councilman Phillips, then what is it really about? I will tell you! It is about getting you to tax yourself for 20 years at 3-4 percent interest in order to free up General Fund money to support a special interest project known as the Desert Discovery Center. This $80 million dollar White Elephant has been bogged down by excessive costs and residents who don’t want to see this commercial venture in our preserve.

Certain members of council who are pushing this forward know that if the Desert Discovery Center went to public vote, in the form of a bond no less, that it would be voted down. So in order to get the $2-3 million needed every year to service the debt incurred from this massive loan, they concocted a shell game where you, the low information voter, would agree to tax yourself in return for a few contrived and unnecessary amenities you didn’t know you needed in the first place.

I am a small business, blue-collar worker, not a Banker or CEO like others on the council, who don’t mind overburdening the middle class with yet another tax increase to help their special interest friends and projects. When you elected me as your representative on the city council I said I would be your watchdog on wasteful and irresponsible spending by the city. I would say this fits the bill!

I urge you to Vote no! For the third and final time and let these bureaucrats know you will not be duped into an unwanted and unneeded property tax increase.

Editor’s note: Mr. Phillips is a member of Scottsdale City Council

Editor's Note: Mr. Phillips is a member of Scottsdale City Council.

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