Saturday, May 31, 2014

Taxing the Poor to Help the Poor

The Albuquerque City Council will consider taxing the poor to help the poor by asking for a 1/8 cent increase in the regressive gross receipts tax.  They are doing it under the false assumption it will somehow help with the police shootings in the city by opening up vaguely thought out homeless assistance.  If they want to try this then at least come up with a real plan, and then shift the burden from the gross receipts tax to another funding source that doesn't take the money out of the pockets of working folks.  This is an evil tax source and has always been.  But if the public were given a chance to vote on it, then if it is approved it will at least be agreed to by those who will pay it.  The public and city council have already hidden a tax in the refuse pick up rates that will fund street median maintenance.  Stealth taxers these folks are!

Mayor Berry was finally pinned down by Channel 7 on the scandalous no bid APD Tazer contract and resulting fall out.  After the contract was 'greased' by former Chief Schultz, he immediately went to work for them after retiring.  Watch it here.


Anonymous said...

Go Regina! Great reporting as usual from you! Martinez and Berry are slashing funding and gutting our government while they deceptively, and slyly I might add, increase our taxes. Where is the money going? To the wealthy, all funded by the poor. The gross receipts tax unfairly requires the poor individual to pay a higher percentage of their disposable income to taxes than the wealthy. They are creating a police state as enforcer, using Albuquerque as the testing ground for pushing the limits on civil rights violations. Berry needs to go! As was reported in Regina’s link, he is going to continue to dig his heels in rather than be a leader. If Martinez gets reelected, she will be even more aggressive in her plan to eliminate government, allow corporations free reign to do whatever they want and expand to create a police state beyond Albuquerque. But her plan may backfire, as it has with the other city and state governments that the Koch brothers funded politicians have lead. As has happened there, it is also happening here. Our economy is tanking and New Mexico's reputation nationally and internationally has been sullied, and it can get A LOT worse. This is exactly what happened to Arizona and other cities and states. This is causing a crisis in the state economically. We continue to drop further in rankings and are at the bottom for education, child welfare, poverty. VOTE IN THE PRIMARY! If King wins on Tuesday, we are doomed. If you think it's bad now, wait, it will get a lot worse as Martinez will have nothing to lose and Berry has already lost all of his political capital.

Anonymous said...

I watched the interview with Mayor Berry on N.M. In Focus and other interviews with Berry. He has a pattern of stating that he is ignorant to the problems in his administration. Either Mayor Berry is incompetent or a crook that is covering up the corruption in City Hall. N.M. In Focus had a great round table discussion with journalists last night about how Mayor Berry's office tries to control the press. It is on line and people should watch it.
I didn't vote for Berry in the last election and I feel that these tax increases aren't going to benefit Albuquerque instead it's to make private contractors and Berry's donors rich. How would a citizen find out information on the contracts Berry made to outsource city services? Is there a public record of these contracts stating the owners, financial accounting of money spent, and bonuses paid to the contractors?

Bubba Muntzer said...

You see a lot of homeless people on the bus. I overheard some of them once, while I was driving for the Albuquerque city bus company, comparing various cities in the region. The consensus was that Albuquerque's one of the best places to be homeless. It had to do with the shelters here, as I recall.

I don't know if that explains the people with cardboard signs at almost every stop light along all the frontage roads. Some of them are at the same corner every day. The older bus drivers told of one, a guy who lived in a nearby upscale hotel. Holding a cardboard sign was his job, basically.

I'm always reminded of the Jack Nicholson/Meryl Streep homeless people film, Ironweed, and a scene where two guys are standing on a street corner debating where to spend the night. It's the dead of winter in New York State. They could go to the mission, but they'd have to listen to a sermon. In the end they decide to hike out to one of their brother's houses.

I guess my point is that homelessness is a complicated thing.

There's conventional wisdom that many of the homeless are mentally disturbed, or that many want to live that way, and veterans seem to be overrepresented. My sense of it from driving the bus for a year is that maybe around half fit the standard concept of people temporarily down on their luck, but you'd need to know what you're talking about before you try to address homelessness.

I'd prefer to see the city council do something to improve the economy. Generally isn't that the best way to help the people at the fringes? Do away with the fringes? Make sure there's a good job for everyone who wants one?