Well, it’s that time of the year again, you know the time of the year that the politicos look for ways to spend your money. As you know, spending other people’s money is the easiest thing to do. As has become the practice for city council each year, they pontificate about the needs of the city while telling you that to be successful, the city needs to spend money. The problem is, that it is not money out of their wallets, but money out of your wallet. Therein lies the problem, they are spending your money.
Oscar Leeser has told you that he will veto any tax increase. He told you the same last year. What he, and the city council neglected to tell you, is that they didn’t raise taxes, but they raised fees. Remember the water fee, the trash fee and the all of the other fees that comes out of your pockets? They may not be taxes, but you pay for them, nonetheless. Keep that in mind while they all pontificate about the needs of the city, the renaissance of El Paso that is only one tax fee away, all while Oscar Leeser tells you that he will veto any tax increase. It will all still come out of your wallet.
There is also talk of issuing CO’s, or debt without voter approval, to meet the budget requirements. This is a tax increase, without your opportunity to agree to it.
David Karlsruher is correct in pointing out Lily Limon’s quest to raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour is wrong. The city does not have the authority to enforce a minimum $10 wage across the city, but it can force city vendors, especially construction companies, to pay the $10 wage. What that truly means is that it will come out of your pocket. It does nothing for the economic development of the city. Artificial wage increases have never been proven to create community prosperity. It sounds good, but the wage increases to not trickle throughout the city. Workers may spend a little extra, but the higher cost of doing business offsets any potential benefits.
Artificial wages, are just that – artificial.
The problem lies in that new money must be introduced into the community in order for economic prosperity to happen. What always happens with these “feel good” fiascos is that the existing money is recycled throughout the city. It does not increase the pot of money and thus the city remains stagnant.
Peter Svarzbein sent out an email detailing his “vision” for the budget process last week. Svarzbein actually writes that it is the “vision” from the individuals he met on his campaign trail about a year ago. He includes a bullet point list of “District 1 Budget Requests”. Remember, the city is highly leveraged in debt and needs a significant portion of its budget to meet the debt payments. That, and the fire and police promises are the largest drain on the budget. Thus, a fiscally responsible city council would look to reducing the stress on the budget by making cuts.
Peter Svarzbein somewhat acknowledges the debt but, instead of advocating budget cuts, is actually looking for a larger piece of the pie. A few items could be argued as necessary, for example traffic light installations. But Peter Svarzbein wants to spend money on 2017 SXSW, on a mural pilot program and on a sister city program with Hadera, Israel.
These are nice to have items that have no place on a budget that is severely stressed. Svarzbein also wants to start a renewable energy convention with your money. Remember the trolley? This is how it got started. If, and until the city gets a handle on its debt, these types of projects shouldn’t even be points of discussion.
In essence, city council is looking for ways to spend your money, instead of saving your pocket book from further stress. The items that they are floating are not necessary, but rather they are monuments to their legacies. It needs to stop.
Oscar Leeser is playing the tax savior but unless he promises to keep fees out of the equation, it is nothing more than grandstanding politics.
Hold on to your wallets tights, because this latest budget cycle is just another plunder of your money for nice to have items that your wallet simply cannot afford.