Wednesday, December 5, 2012

PTR goes out the window; lessons to be learned

Every so often, politicians wrestling with a large problem, usually a large capital project they want to fund, will cobble together many funding sources and include a tax increase for the average Joe somewhere in there. And when they do so, there is usually some "grand bargain," wherein the taxpayer will reap some deferred benefit or spending cuts in exchange for the short-term pain of the tax increase today.

Such was the case with the stadium tax increases in Hamilton County more than a decade ago, wherein the taxpayers were solemnly promised a rollback of property tax rates (PTR) in exchange for the sales tax hike. Well, the voters took the bait and passed the stadium sales tax.

Today, we saw the result of that grand bargain. The Hamilton County Commission again took a big bite out of the PTR to fund the mounting deficit in the stadium fund, causing that grand bargain to be breached again. And it's not like we can blame these two commissioners.

The fund was made hopelessly insolvent by Commissioners past because of a series of calamitous decisions, so that even this latest tax hike solves the deficit for only another year.

But the lesson to be learned from this experience, capped by today's vote, is that we never can believe the politicians when they tell us to accept today's pain of higher taxes in exchange for tomorrow's promise of, you name it, lower taxes, lower deficits, economic development, huge attendance numbers at their latest attraction, etc.

The reality is they lie, they all lie, and the taxpayers always lose. Don't believe them. No more grand bargains. Ever.

1 comment:

  1. I was the area's biggest backer for that stadium tax! It was my face and voice used in the tv to convince all the commoners to vote for it. Now I want to take grand ideas like stadiums and streetcars to Cincinnati. Qualls for Mayor!


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