Monday, March 26, 2007

Leadership: Service while cutting taxes and waste

RESPONSE to 4/4 Skinny

TUCSON -- There is no tax that hits most people harder than sales tax. Every time you spend a dollar locally, the tax is approaching 10% (8.1), one of the higher rates in the nation.

This is too high. It adds up to hundreds and thousands of dollars in taxes from each Tucsonan every year, especially costing families and people of lower income.

If I was Tucson Mayor, a sales tax cut plan would be a priority. I'd put together the best team of economists, business, citizen advocates, and all stakeholders to listen and try to hammer out an agreeable course of action, and then try to move for real tax relief for Tucsonans. We could also try to bring the county and other local governments along with a goal of an even metro Tucson sales tax.

Walkup has not been a leader here.

How much sales tax could be cut without compromising important city services I'm not sure yet, but a good goal could be eventually at 6% or less.

More revenue could perhaps be brought in through a one time reasonable fee from new residents moving to the city, higher but fair visitor fees on tourists, increased water hook up and impact fees in outlying areas such as the southlands, cutting trash and boosting recycling, producing and selling clean power from 10,000 solar rooftops by 2011, and increased vehicle registration monies that would go to the city if an agreement could be struck with the state.

The city also needs leadership to eliminate waste.

Growth must be made to truly pay for itself and the extra costs it brings for all. Current Tucsonans shouldn't have to and cannot afford to subsidize growth for the next half a million+ people planned to move in to the city. People want to move here, and they are willing to pay for it.

I often see ball field lights on at parks during the day, and at night when no one is playing. Add up this energy cost waste at each park, each day and night, all year city-wide and it can be significant.

City vehicles such as parking enforcement, parks, and police are often left running all day. Not only is this a big waste of expensive fuel and energy budgets, it also jacks up city temperatures and creates more global warming pollution in our neighborhoods. Shut off the ignition when out of the vehicle and we all save.

There are other ways to cut waste and taxes, these are just some from me. I am eager to listen to all.

We can cut sales taxes and waste and still have a more vibrant and helpful city government.

Will you help me do it?

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