A slow death by 1,000 taxes

August 7, 2013 

So you know that bit we had occupying this space last Friday about compromise and bi-partisan cooperation working so well here in the heartland? Turns out that was all blather.

The Belleville City Council showed its partisan stripes Monday night. Despite a committee recommendation, despite 20 protesters and despite a packed house, they decided that two more years of a 0.25 percent sales tax hike just weren't enough. By a 9-7 vote they put the sales tax in place for four years -- just as Mayor Eckert originally wanted -- and dropped the plan to seek voter approval before making it permanent.

Two years would have been plenty of time to see if the economy was recovering and whether sales taxes were rebounding enough to fund city needs at less than an 8.1 percent sales tax rate. They could have voted in 2015 to add two more years. But no, they needed the security blanket that more of your money provides.

While the sales pitch was all about keeping four new cops in place through a four-year federal grant, most of the more than $4 million expected to be raised will go towards other city wants and desires. City Finance Director Jamie Maitret said the money will be a chance for the city to build up reserves depleted during the recession.

Well, what about the taxpayers' depleted reserves?

And who really believes this tax will go away in 2017? Getting government off a new tax is like trying to wean a judge from heroin.

A quarter on a $100 purchase will not kill anyone, but this is about the principle. Government just can't but help itself to another slice of your money, and taken collectively -- state income tax, license plate fees, health care tax, more reliance on property taxes and on and on and on -- all those cuts leave us with an ever dwindling pie.

Someone cue Marie Antoinette and the bit about eating cake.

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