Sunday, January 27, 2008

January 27, 2008 City Forms "Support the Tax" Committee

The cycle of spending, borrowing, and raising taxes is moving at warp speed!

Hamblen County Mayor David Purkey and Commission Chair Stancil Ford signed letters on county letterhead a few days ago that were then mailed to citizens urging taxpayers to cast their vote FOR an increase to the local sales tax.

Now the City of Morristown has registered as a "committee" to encourage voters to vote FOR an increase to the local sales tax.

The form above is the city's Single-Measure Committee filing. The name of the committee is "City of Morristown"; the purpose of the committee is to support the sales tax; the appointing authority is "Kay Senter," member of City Council and East High teacher; and the treasurer is "Dynise Robertson," a city employee.

The City has put up signs (see above) at the City Center and at the Courthouse--where early voting is underway--encouraging people to vote YES to increase the local sales tax.

The Tribune has an article today reporting on the county's Purkey-Ford tax letters and the City's Committee to support the sales tax.

It reports that nothing was legally wrong when County Mayor David Purkey and Commission Chair Stancil Ford signed a letter on county letterhead and then had someone else pay for printing and mailing it out.

At Commission's January 24 meeting, Purkey said that "the education foundation" paid for the mailout. When I specifically asked if he was referring to HC*Excell, a non-profit foundation, Purkey wouldn't respond and just repeated "the education foundation."

Now the Tribune reports that the county mailing was "actually paid for by the P-16 council but was officially done by the Committee to Support the Sales Tax Referendum for Education." Really?

The Tribune article is very careful to point out that County Administrator of Elections Wanda Neal said that the P-16/HC*ExCell group followed the law in registering as a committee prior to making any expenditures.

But what about the City tax-support committee? The Tribune fails to mention that the city violated election laws by spending money and putting up signs at the Courthouse and at the City Center (see above) well before the City filed to become a tax-support committee on January 24th. Ms. Neal knew that the City did NOT follow the law and did NOT register prior to making expenditures, so why was this fact left out of the article?

Totally amusing. (1) Frenetic forming of a "city committee" that will spend taxpayer dollars to tell voters to vote to increase the local sales tax. (2) Mass mailing of letters from County Mayor David Purkey and Commission Chair Stancil Ford, both of whom support the sales tax, encouraging a YES vote on the sales tax increase. (3) A never-ending series of Tribune articles from, of course, tax supporters.

Sort of like the last sales tax push in 2001 when one of the benefits touted by the Tribune was a "fish-and-release" pond.

The city and county on their own and with the considerable help of the school board are spiraling out-of-control with debt and more debt, overspending and overruns, and the only answer they can think of is more taxes.
This sales tax money grab is just the tip of the iceberg. Sure, the city's historic 40-cent tax increase might become the city's historic 25-cent tax increase for a year--- and then watch those tax increases resume, bigger and better than ever. The county/school board tax increase is going to be astronomical next year.

No one is minding the financial store.

There are illegal biddings, wasteful spending, huge raises for the "select," huge car allowances, false documents, discrimination against bidders, friends put on county insurance, free lunches--- all on the taxpayers' dime. There are unannounced meetings to appoint, of all things, the Ethics Committee.

Do NOT hold your breath until the Tribune does a series of articles on the above documented allegations. The county is in a mess, the officials and employees involved in illegal biddings, falsified documents, money switching, and waste are all "protecting" each other, and the Tribune comes to meetings and just puts out a county press release.

How about cutting down on fancy SUV's and trucks with all the chrome? How about eliminating illegal bidding so you have true, competitive, legal bids and contracts? How about saving money by cutting out some of the supervisory layers at the city, county, and school board? How about looking for ways to save instead of coming up with a $100 million dollar city "wish list" and a $60-$100 million dollar school board "wish list"?

How about doing what the average person has to do every day, every month, every year? Live within your means!

Here's a reminder to all the borrow-and-taxers, the spend-and-taxers, and the tax-tax-and- more taxers.

There are a lot of people on fixed incomes in Hamblen County whose "wish list" is being able to put food on the table and pay for medicine.

City, county, and school board officials ignore these people and the middle class that also struggles to make ends meet. The elected are concerned with themselves, their $100 million dollar "wish lists," their never-ending dreams of exciting ways to spend new tax money on earlier and larger pensions, cars, car allowances, club memberships, and, of course, jobs, perks, and salary increases for themselves and family members.

The big push for increasing taxes by $2 million dollars is that it's "for the children." Well, if that's really why the city wanted the county to join in the sales tax increase, then the city should let the whole $2 million go toward the schools---put the City's $1 million with the Hamblen County Schools $1 million "for the children"!


Anonymous said...

there is even a point where "the children" crap don't work. If we could see a reduction in inflated county salaries, a reduction in staff on the county payroll, a reduction in the number of deadbeat welfare recipients in the county we would create revenue from other economic areas instead.

Purkey, Ford, Swann, and the rest of the lackeys should lose their jobs and real fiscal managers put in their place.

ShelliG said...

And who paid for those "in your face" signs?