To the editor:
Vice Mayor Kerry Donley has spent considerable time and effort over the past several months selling another tax increase he wants to impose on Alexandrians. His pitch to our already overtaxed citizens and businesses doesnt appear to be selling very well. However, the time and effort he has devoted to his cause merit that everyone understands exactly what he is saying once the political hyperbole has been stripped away.
Based on Donleys latest pitch published in this newspaper, his argument to take more of your money can essentially be boiled down to the following points:
1. Other local governments have imposed these taxes so Alexandria should too.
Let me remind readers of their parents old quote, If your friends jump off a bridge, would you jump too? Just because Arlington politicians impose a new tax doesnt mean Alexandrians want their taxes raised in a similar fashion. Indeed, the nature of business owners in Arlington, which are frequently large corporations, are very different from the unique, family-owned, community supported small businesses in Alexandria. Of course, if this argument sways the other members of city council, who have voted against this tax in the past, it will only be logical that Alexandria adopts other local government policies, such as Loudon Countys controversial illegal immigrant policies or Arlingtons decrease in parking meter fees.
2. Donley wants to use these new taxes to float bonds and get more bang from the buck as other local governments have done.
Even the millions and millions of dollars Donley wants to take from the local economy isnt enough to sate his thirst for more money. Indeed, the new taxes will merely be a down payment, as Donley wants to use them to borrow even more money and dig Alexandria even further into debt. Simply put, this is irresponsible and will likely add even more pressure in the future to both cut spending and raise even more taxes as Donleys bills come due. Perhaps Donley has spent too much time working for big banks.
3. This is the only tool left in our toolbox.
No, its not. As vice mayor, Donley knows this is a false statement.
4. Imagine [insert your dream transportation project here].
Hopes and dreams are certainly nice, but what about the people who will lose their jobs or will have to pay higher prices due to Donleys new taxes? How many more empty storefronts will this cause?
5. We must act now!
No, we mustnt. Alexandriawas here before cars were invented; it will be here long after Donley and his pet projects are forgotten. Indeed, the worst time to impose a drastic new tax is in bad economic times.
6. If we impose this tax on businesses, well provide these same businesses with tax relief.
By definition, tax relief would entail lower taxes. It seems a bit disingenuous that a professional politician would promise a small bit of long overdue tax relief from an unfair tax at the price of imposing an entirely new and more burdensome tax. If a tax is unfair, it should be reformed because it is an unfair tax, not as a bribe.
Left out of Donleys new tax sales pitch is that after city councils last tax increase, Alexandria actually has a budget surplus. It will be a sad, but predictable, spectacle to watch Donley and the rest of city council exercise their magical powers and make these millions of dollars disappear overnight!
If Donley succeeds in his push to get the other city council members aboard his tax train, it will only be a short time before he starts planning his next raid on your bank. The real question is how much more Donley can you afford?