Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler's Budget: Tired Political Games
Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler is resorting to a tired political playbook in his effort to convince Lincolnites to support his sales tax increase: threaten to cut popular city services.
Mayor Beutler has threatened cutting 90 parks including the Pioneers Park Nature Center; eliminate bus routes, closing libraries and ‘deep reductions’ in services for seniors.
To refuse the Mayor’s sales tax increase is tantamount to turning Lincoln into a ghost town with no services to offer its citizens, if you believe the rhetoric coming from City Hall.
However, without a sales tax increase the City still spends over $140 million dollars.
$140 million hires a lot of police officers, fire fighters, librarians and park maintenance.
It is wrong of Mayor Beutler to imply Lincolnites do not give enough of our money to fund city government; yet that’s exactly what’s being said when taxpayers are told to cough up more via a sales tax increase.
What about ‘Cut Spending Now’ do politicians not understand?
By huge margins, Americans want government to cut spending. Not slow down the rate of spending, but to cut.
Mayor Beutler won’t do that.
Consider Chris Beulter’s record on taxes:
- Increased the telecommunications tax in 2009
- Instituted an occupation tax in 2010
- Proposed a wheel tax increase in 2011
- Increased the property tax in 2011
- Wants to increase the sales tax in 2012
- A mere Google search of “Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler” returns 694,000 results
There isn’t a tax Chris Beutler has not wanted to raise. Now it’s the sales tax. But let’s look at the Mayor’s spending record:
Remember the $40,000 the city spent to survey citizens’ opinions of the budget? $40,000 was spent when all that was needed was the mayor and his staff to spend a few evenings at local schools and community centers hosting town halls – that cost would have been negligible.
Mayor Beutler refused to allow State Auditor Mike Foley to conduct an audit of the Haymarket Arena project. A $340 million project needs accountability and transparency; and with the well documented success of Auditor Foley’s office in protecting the interests of Nebraska’s taxpayers, it was wrong of Mayor Beutler to refuse an audit.
Antelope Valley was a boondoggle – millions in taxpayer dollars were misappropriated. Again, Auditor Foley uncovered millions in irresponsible spending, with no help from Mayor Beutler or his office.
Mayor Beutler pushed for overly-generous union contracts for city employees that gave raises unheard of in the private sector; especially considering the stagnant economy.
Time and again Mayor Beutler wants to increase taxes on Lincoln’s families and small businesses so that he can increase spending.
We reject the Mayor’s scare tactics. This is not a choice between raising the sales tax and closing 90 parks. This is a choice of whether the Mayor will present a responsible budget, or continue to hide from transparency and increase spending.