If there was any doubt that the Albuquerque Journal is hell bent to take Mayor Keller down a few pegs, the March 4, 2018 editorial as well as the editorial cartoon proves it.
In two-inch black font, the editorial blares out “THE $40 MILLION QUESTION” and below it another headline reads “Tax Increase may be needed, but voters should decide”.
The editorial says in part:
“Pushing a tax hike through without voter approval may be the most expedient solution, but it’s the wrong move – particularly given Keller’s repeated pledges on the campaign trail that voters would have final say on any tax increase. … So, sure, the city needs revenue. But simply imposing a tax—without voter approval—is the wrong move. Especially if a special election can be held in a timely fashion.”
The Albuquerque Journal wants the city to hold a special election to enact a tax increase without mentioning that it would be a “mail-in” ballot election that will cost upwards of $500,000 for printing and mailing costs.
Perhaps the Journal editors would be willing to write a check for $500,000 for the special election because the city sure does not have the money.
The Journal wants the Mayor and City Council to hit the campaign trail to promote any tax increase, while at the same time enact a budget before July 1, 2018 that deals with the $40 million deficit without knowing if the tax increase would be supported by voters.
Given the total anti-tax sentiment in Albuquerque, especially with a regressive tax as the gross receipts tax, I suspect the chances of it passing are slim, even if it is tied to public safety.
There have been “public safety” taxes proposed in the past and put on the ballot that have failed with mail in elections.
The editorial cartoon by John Trevor is pretty funny too, but stings no less.
The cartoon has Keller pushing a casket that has written on it “NO TAX HIKE WITHOUT A PUBLIC VOTE PROMISE” out of a second story window and into a $40 million black hole with Keller saying “FOR STARTERS, IT’S A HANDY PLACE TO BURY THIS!”
In the March 4, 2018 editorial, the Journal makes absolutely no mention of their favorite former Mayor Berry and what he said just a five months ago.
On September 26, 2017 the Albuquerque Journal did a front-page, banner headline story with a full color photo of Mayor Richard Berry giving his last “State of the City” address.
Mayor Berry proclaimed in his speech, “the state of our city is strong”.
Berry said Albuquerque’s next mayor will “inherit an efficient city government that is living within its means, a growing economy and close to $1.2 billion in infrastructure projects that have been built or are in the pipeline”.
Berry proclaimed his administration was a “hallmark of fiscal responsibility”.
The Albuquerque Journal had no problem at all in getting behind the disastrous fiscal policies of Berry that caused the $40 million deficit but wants to remind Mayor Keller and voters that he is going back on his pledge even though Keller has given good reasons to do it.
It’s the City Council, not the Mayor, who can only raise taxes with or without a public vote.
It is disappointing when candidates for office, mayors and city councilors proclaim they will put increases in taxes on the ballot in order to get elected and try to avoid the political “hot potato” and accusation that they increased taxes when they run for office again.
People have no business running for office if they do not want to make the hard decisions, especially when it comes to taxes and public safety and providing police services.
In any representative form of government, people are elected to make the best decisions they can based on the facts and needs of their constituents.
The City Council is required to have public hearings over the next 4 months on the proposed budget and allow for public input.
The public’s input is vital in order to reach a consensus on the need for any tax increase.
Let the city council do its job and decide on any proposed tax increase, their own or any one proposed by the Mayor.