Thursday, September 18, 2008

Timely Advice?

In what is likely not anything that will surprise anyone, the NY Times today editorializes in favor of raising city property taxes:
"It will be tough to tighten budgets as the region’s economies reel. But regional officials can find a good example to follow in New York City’s response to the combined effects of the bursting of the dot-com bubble, a recession and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It offers hope that the current crisis can be handled without undermining essential government functions.

Federal aid helped, but the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg also raised the property tax rate by 18.5 percent in January 2003. Health and education budgets were protected. Other expenditures, especially on police and other uniformed services were sharply cut."

So, let's get this straight. Health and education budgets were maintained while police and fire were cut, yet we didn't undermine essential government services? And now the Times is saying that, in the middle of what could certainly become a nasty recession, we should raise taxes again: "While the city is likely to have to cut spending again, there are potential sources of additional revenue available. Property tax rates were cut 7 percent in 2007. A property tax rebate was introduced in 2004. Reversing these two measures could raise more than $1.5 billion."

Great advice. And if the city council and the mayor go ahead and do it, while rescinding the referendum on term limits, we'd pay to watch the electoral fall out. Remember where the mayor's approval ratings were in 2002. This double whammy will send them back into the dumpster.