Tax cut? There’s no tax cut!

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 22, 2005

Editor, the News-Herald:

Your headline in today’s paper, &uot;Tax Cut on the Table,&uot; borders on the moronic-what &uot;Tax Cut&uot; are you talking about? Certainly, as at least any reasonably intelligent and informed person can plainly see, no one, and I mean NO ONE, in the Suffolk City Government at any level is even considering cutting one red cent from the taxes extorted from us for the privilege of living in our homes.

Not in your lifetime, and certainly not in mine, will we ever see a cut in the taxes we send downtown every year to be squandered on outlandish salaries, needless departments and positions, and boondoggles such as the Mudflats Money Hole and the Arts Center, ad infinitum.

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Now that the council members have received their &uot;come uppance&uot; from the City Manager when they &uot;instructed&uot; him to reduce his bloated budget, at least 4 City Council members will meekly vote to reduce the real estate tax rate by 2 cents per hundred dollars of inflated assessments. (For the mathematically challenged, that equates to a rate &uot;cut&uot; of less than 1.9 percent, but it is really an increase in taxes of more than 15 percent

over last year!)

The age-old maxim still holds true – &uot;absolute power corrupts absolutely&uot;. Did you see how the City Manager responded to Council’s &uot;instructions&uot; to review his budget and recommend items that could be removed? Book and magazine subscriptions, association memberships, vehicles, office upgrades, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of like expenses were not candidates for reduction. And of course, not one new position, including assistants to assistants in certain departments and functions, could be spared. Nor could any of the extremely ample salaries of upper City management be reduced – or even held even with last year. But funding for the new North Suffolk Library was offered up – &uot;Take That, Linda Johnson and Leroy Bennett!!!

If anyone ever had any doubt as to who is in charge in today’s Suffolk City Government structure, this fiasco should eliminate all doubts – it’s certainly not City Council.

There is absolutely no reasonable or rational basis for not decreasing the real estate tax rate in the City of Suffolk so as to make the excessive real estate taxes revenue-neutral. But, SURPRISING SUFFOLK is alive and well, and I suppose we really are different from all of our neighboring cities, some of which are making double digit cuts in real estate tax rates. Could that difference relate to the backbones of our council members? Go figure!

C. L. Willis, P. E.