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Opinion

Three More Reasons To Oppose Mayor/Council Proposed Tax Hike

by Joe Weinstein, Ph.D.


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(Feb. 23, 2016, 7:45 a.m.) -- Bravo for Gary Shelton's heartfelt eloquence against a new city sales tax and its unfair impact against low-income residents [cited in LBREPORT.com editorial LB's "Let Them Eat Cake" Mayor & Councilmembers."] Here are three yet broader reasons for opposing the Garcia Gang Grab. These reasons apply even were the proposed grab not a regressive sales tax on low-income residents but the very opposite: a progressive income/hotel tax, to be applied just to visiting tourists with annual incomes of over ten million dollars!

  • Reason #1 First, this gang can be trusted to misspend. Give 'em an extra penny and -- as the British used to say -- they will 'spend a penny' (i.e. to be flushed down the WC.)

    They are great at inventing insincere pleas to cover their spending whims. Now, in order to pass their new tax, they suddenly (after years of skimping in annual budgets) coo about allegedly needed massive infrastructure and maintenance.

    Similarly for years they cried "wolf!" over an alleged urgent seismic problem in City Hall. Somehow for them this problem never required urgent interim relocation of city workers - or an unbiased look at retrofits and other long-term solutions - but instead urgently required spending huge sums on a glitzy someday-maybe-to-be new city-hall tower. Never mind that in this information age (one of internet and cloud, of universal and broad-band telecom), no such tower, old or new, is needed at all. As demonstrated for over a decade in my own work experience for the state of California (and more unhappily by the events of 9/11/2001) nowadays no enterprise need expensively centralize its clerical and professional workers into one building, let alone a building in a congested high-rent (and maybe vulnerable) site. Even if Long Beach utterly lacked a city-hall tower right now, there would be no need nowadays to construct one.

    Mungo's window-dressing "Citizens' Advisory Committee" will be cherry-picked by Council politicians [members chosen by Mayor, approved by Council]; it will have no decision power, and anyhow it will "review" spending just of the NEW revenues. Even if (magically) the new spending is wise, the Council will be off-the-hook - free to keep misspending OLD (existing) revenues. A vote for a new tax would endorse irresponsible Council spending!

  • Reason #2 This Council and management not only spend and make other decisions to whim, but do so in brazen preference for scofflaw impropriety -- even when propriety would cost them scant more time or money. As in their Nov. 2015 Riverwalk and QM decisions, they love agendas whose items have no titles -- or misleading titles and even misleading texts -- or which pretend to make small changes in just one district when in fact they quietly make big changes city-wide.

    As a result, the Councilís actions are already imposing unofficial but hefty extra taxes (in money, time and effort) on those conscientious taxpaying citizens -- such as Citizens About Responsible Planning (CARP - see www.carplb.org) -- who are resisting actions they consider legally improper. A vote for a new tax would endorse those Council approved improprieties.

  • Reason #3 This Council and management keep opting for the Orwellian mantra "Ignorance is Strength." In budgeting and other decisions, they apparently want both citizens and themselves to be and stay ignorant -- ignorant of facts, including actual per-unit costs of specific city services, and correctly stated costs and benefits (and environmental impacts) of alternative courses of action.

    Ignorant citizens can stumble into keeping them in power. And by staying as ignorant as possible themselves, management can propound ill-considered spending and other measures, and Council members can with straight face rubber-stamp them. A vote for a new tax would endorse ignorance as a preferred guide for management actions and Council decisions.


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