Here’s one more reason to oppose the city’s proposed 12.9 percent sales tax increase in November. Look at the City Council’s approval last week of the $11.1 million Village Entrance, at 30 percent over budget. Council members Rob Zur Schmiede and Toni Iseman, both up for re-election this year, voted to approve the over-budget expenditure without blinking an eye. Over budget? No big deal, there’s a money tree.
Most telling was Councilmember Toni Iseman’s statements when speaking about where the “over budget” money was going to come from. Iseman was not worried about the Village Entrance cost, stating, “Each time one of those houses sells…any time there is real estate turnover, we are going to find whatever this number is, this $7.6 or even $9 million, we find it in a hurry.” She concluded, “We will recapture this money if a couple people in this room sell their houses…get new property taxes.”
Viola! Just like that, the city “finds” the money. The money tree is us! That’s their fiscal plan, keep taxing and spending because the money tree will provide. Just need a few of us to sell our homes or die. No big deal.
So, if the money is so easy to find for multi-million dollar projects, why is the City Council asking residents to approve a sales tax increase in November to underground soon-to-be obsolete utility poles we don’t even own? That won’t keep us safe from fires, like the last two big ones in Laguna, which were both caused by humans and not those sneaky utility poles. The city doesn’t need this money, because, whatever the number is, the city can “find it in a hurry.”
Something to think about at elections in November. Vote no on the second tax increase in two years; it’s not necessary. We should “pay as we go.” The city should budget for the undergrounding and use those budget surpluses from the money tree. It should partner with Caltrans and the power companies and seek more Rule 20A undergrounding credits and more grant money like the $4 million just received.
Think about those City Council members running for re-election this year, and ask yourself if your money is safe in their hands. Will there ever be enough to fund their incessant spending?
For more facts about why you should oppose the sales tax increase, go to www.stoptaxingourproperty.com.
Jennifer Welsh Zeiter, Laguna Beach