Opinion Your Views — 23 May 2013
Tax hikes ignore turbulent economic climate

To the editor:

I wholeheartedly concur with your recent editorial, “Council spending spree hurts city residents” (May 9). I’m not sure what world this city council lives in, but for many Alexandrians, these are not the best of economic times.

As everyone knows, federal employees, contractors and others are facing a very tenuous economy. In view of the fact that many Alexandrians are included in these groups, city councilors should have had the economic well-being of residents uppermost in their minds when they voted.

What did our city council do instead? It voted in lockstep to pile tax increases — on real estate and personal property — on top of higher real estate assessments in complete disregard of the economic situation of many Alexandrians. I submit that it was not the responsible thing to do.

This budget vote creates a very unsettling precedent. Namely, that the local government is distinct from the economic welfare of its residents. In other words, as long as the government is OK, then residents be damned.

To put it another way: Government is operating in a vacuum for its benefit. It doesn’t really seem to matter how burdensome the local government’s levies have become or what residents must do without. The only thing that matters is that the government gets its money.

City council jobs are difficult, and the members spend many hours looking at budget numbers and weighing them. However, you’ve got to wonder whether the obvious groupthink of this council allowed consideration of an adequate balance between the welfare of the government and residents.

It sure doesn’t look that way to this Alexandrian.
- Bill Sullivan
Alexandria

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