On Nov. 7 we are going to be asked to vote for an increase in sales tax to nearing 9 percent. A wise old Garden City business man told me one time to "never vote yourself a tax increase.” Not understanding why, I asked "why not.” He told me if you vote yourself an increase in taxes it takes away the incentive and necessity for elected officials and city staff not to manage our current tax rate. It's too easy to just raise taxes. Well, now I fully understand what he meant. We pay enough tax now for the things we really need if the money is spent responsibly. If it is not spent responsibly no amount of money is ever enough. We do not have a taxing problem, we have a spending problem.
All of us want Garden City to have a responsible rate of growth. But tax and spending is not the answer. Some time ago we were told that the Schulman Crossing Project with the additional expense involved, more traffic, more crime, would stabilize our taxes. Well it has not. If additional tax money has been raised by Schulman Crossing, apparently it has been spent on other projects and now we are just looking for more.
Additional taxes of any kind hurt small business the most. Additional sales tax only pushes more people to purchase online, which is already a rapidly growing way to buy. Last week I took an hour to count commercial buildings, not only on Main Street but all our major streets, that are vacant. I found 74 vacancies just by driving by. Later I was pointed out a few more which are not seen by just a drive by. I was always told that taxes are raised on things you don't want and lowered on things that you do. Apparently, the city of GC has abandoned "small business" and would rather look to big box stores for their money. And give tax abatements to do it. Just follow the money.
I have heard recently newspaper articles and elected officials tell us that if we don't vote for the sales tax increase that they will simply add it on to our property taxes. Well, I have heard this threat too many times already, and I personally take it as a threat. Apparently, our elected officials and city staff doesn't think much of the voters word after an election.
It is impossible for any community to tax themselves into prosperity. Prosperity comes from reasonable taxes and a whole of "hard work.”
Also, we are going to vote for three open positions on our City Commission. We need desperately people with business experience, respect for the tax dollar and a whole lot of "common sense.” All three of these are important. The city is a huge business and we need people with experience to solve these problems.