When it comes to financial matters, I’m very conservative and a tax increase is something I have never, ever been in favor of. That changed today when I voted “yes” on a sales tax increase for my city.
Why I voted to raise my own taxes
I live in a town that’s the economic hub of more than 500,000 people and like other cities and municipalities, we’ve been affected by the economic downturn that began in 2007. Shortly thereafter, we elected a mayor who was a former banker and very frugal. As I understand it from some people I know in city government, he is highly reluctant to spend money. City department heads dread going to him to ask to issue purchase orders and he reviews the city’s cash flows daily. I think that’s a good thing.
This year, our firefighters and police officers need to replace much of their rolling stock (police cruisers and fire trucks) and frankly, the money just isn’t there. As a result, we face the prospect of closing at least one fire station and reducing our police force significantly. This sales tax increase is worded to ONLY provide funds for these public safety services.
What happens when a city loses fire stations?
Homeowners insurance companies not only use CLUE reports in making decisions about how much to charge, they also use a city’s fire rating. That rating is based upon how many homes and businesses are serviced by each fire station in a city. If my city lost a fire station, we would lose one, possibly two ratings points. What that means to me is much higher homeowners insurance premiums – and that increase would be much more than the extra sales taxes I would pay each year.
So in an ironic twist of circumstances, a tax increase actually will result in more money in my pocket while helping police officers and fire fighters provide services to me and to other fellow citizens.
Oh yeah, the tax expires in four years. The thinking is that by then, the economy will rebound enough that the extra money won’t be needed. If our mayor can manage to pull that off, he needs to be elected to a higher office!
UPDATE: The sales tax increase passed, so my homeowners insurance won’t be going up!