‘Real’ tax reform is no substitute for real budget discipline

David Smith’s Feb. 24 Scottsdale Independent column “Scottsdale City Council to debate real tax reform,” describes nothing more than a publicity stunt.

John Washington

John Washington

First of all, eliminating the food tax wasn’t his idea. It was first proposed several years ago by the late, great city councilman Tony Nelssen. Smith can’t even be original, let alone intellectually honest enough to give credit where credit is due.

Smith himself admits that for the last 10 years city spending has been allowed to grow recklessly … on his watch as city treasurer, I might add. Though Mayor Lane and the other faux Republicans on the city council (Milhaven, Korte, Klapp) bear ultimate responsibility, Smith never fought for real fiscally conservative city government … because he wanted to keep his cushy G-job.

Nowhere in his missive does Smith offer any solution for the budget pressure that would be created by eliminating the food tax.  And his dramatic hand-wringing about property taxes is sleight of hand to distract you from his support for a massive city borrowing program which will be funded by … increases in your property taxes.

I suggest to Councilman Smith that we first look at some real spending reforms to make up for the elimination of the food tax. We could get one-third of it back almost immediately by eliminating the $4 million annual taxpayer-funded cash subsidy to the Scottsdale Cultural Council.

Of course since his wife sits on the Cultural Council board of trustees, I’m not going to start polishing Smith’s “Champion of the Taxpayer” trophy just yet. An Oscar for “Best Performance by a City Council Member” might be more appropriate.

Mr. Washington is a local community advocate and editor of Scottsdaletrails.com

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