Thursday, August 17, 2006

Toledo Taxing Itself Into a Ghost Town?

From The Blade:

Mayor Carty Finkbeiner alternated between casting doubt on the accuracy of a new U.S. Census estimate that lowers Toledo's population and shrugging it off as unimportant.

The mayor ticked off the list of Toledo advantages -- such as abundant water and the Toledo Museum of Art -- and said that quality of life, not population, is what makes a city great.

"If that were the case, Detroit would be a better city to live in than Toledo," Mr. Finkbeiner said yesterday. "Toledo is a city with an excellent quality of life."

At the same time, City Councilman Frank Szollosi blamed the population decrease on Toledo's tax burden. He called on the mayor and Council President Rob Ludeman to support his plan to submit future increases in the special assessments budget to city voters.

Mr. Szollosi called on Mr. Ludeman to allow a vote on his resolution putting special assessment increases on the ballot. He was joined in support of the proposal by Bob Vasquez, an unendorsed Democratic candidate for an at-large council seat. Unendorsed Democrat Joe McNamara last week endorsed the idea of putting special assessments on the ballot.

But Mr. Ludeman, Councilman George Sarantou, and Councilman Lourdes Santiago, the endorsed Democratic candidate for the at-large seat, joined in rejecting the plan. They said council shouldn't shift to the voters its responsibility to make tough decisions.

If that argument sounds familiar, many Republicans (and of course Democrats) unfortunately used it against Ken Blackwell's TEL plan which would have required voter approval of tax increases at the state and local level.

Mayor Finkbeiner and all Ohio politicians ignore the people's pain at their own peril. Just as citizens leave Toledo in droves, the entire state finds that the people are leaving for places like Florida -- states with a smaller tax burden.

Ohio needed TEL and we need leaders who will stand up against those who show so little respect for the hard work of Ohioans.

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