Monday, December 18, 2017

No Regressive Taxes

It never fails.  Republican officer holders leave deficits for incoming Democratic office holders.  Mayor Berry with the help of the city council covered up the anemic revenues coming into ABQ's city coffers.  And now a progressive office holder, Tim Keller, is left with a mess.

Certainly, the ax must come out on frivolous projects.  One I can think of is the Roundabout at Rio Grande and Candelaria and the ridiculous strangling of that street at the behest of Councillor Benton. That money might well be diverted to ART anyway if the Feds don't send what they said they would.

But about the last thing we need is another regressive increase in the gross receipts tax.  Anything but that might be feasible, but only as a last resort.  One of the first things I would do is to get a good audit going to make sure NM state government is sending ABQ what is actually owed.  When I was Mayor that was the first place we would look and we always hit paydirt.

Every City Councillor should be watched carefully in this process.  As well as every County Commissioner.  They have a finger in this pie too.


Anonymous said...

Ken Sanchez (D) rubber stamped everything Berry proposed. NOW he is proposing a revised Sick Leave Ordinance blindsiding Mayor Keller. What self-serving little weasel Kenny is.

Vicki said...

Albuquerque will be joined in budget deficits by thousands of cities and most states after the GOP passes their "Tax Cuts for the Rich" bill and they find the burden of providing services and infrastructure is completely on local governments. I saw this when I lived in California when after Proposition 13 passed in 1978 capping property taxes at 1975 levels and allowing for a 2% per year increase only when the property changed hands and restricting any increase in property taxes to a 2/3 vote of the legislature or 2/3 vote for local special tax elections. The loss of tax revenues dramatically increased costs to students at state universities and colleges (previously supported by state taxes), loss of fire and police protection, the deterioration of infrastructure and the impoverishment of community schools, to cite just a few of the essential services the state government had previously provided through tax revenue. One of the ways the state managed to raise revenue for local cities and counties was to put a surtax of $100 per car on the MVD registration. In 2002, when the GOP and their energy allies created havoc and cut off power to California during an economic recession, the Democratic Governor Gray Davis was recalled and Arnold Swarznegger was elected by appealing to Californian car owners who hated the $100 surcharge. He was overwhelmingly supported because he said he would repeal the "Car Tax" which he did after becoming Governor. The Republicans appeal to citizens with promises that they will reduce taxes, then Democrats step in and find huge deficits and the citizens screaming for services and infrastructure so Democrats always look like the Party that "taxes and spends" as the GOP likes to say. Keller will get no honeymoon as he will have to make tough decisions to keep our city running and the GOP will use any increase in taxes against him. I like your suggestion for an audit of State obligations to Albuquerque and of course, Keller has experience in that.

maximalideal said...

I'm wondering where your feelings on the roundabout come from. I haven't really heard much about it for years, but back in 2012 read Gene Grant's piece in the Alibi about it( From there it looks like a classic case of pedestrian safety vs. convenience for cars. I think we've finally come to a place where we are ready to start giving some importance to the former. I've spent my life walking and biking in this town and wonder why we seem so determined to make these activities so rare and dangerous.

"The intersection sees 300 percent more accidents with pedestrians than the rest of the city, equivalent to the San Mateo and Montgomery intersection. That is just startling for an area that rightfully prides itself on a mellow pace of life." -from Grant's piece

I haven't seen the clear case against the roundabout that doesn't rest on their unfamiliarity or inconvenience for drivers. But maybe you have and can share it.

Bubba Muntzer said...

There's no evidence that roundabouts increase safety for pedestrians or bicyclists, according to Andy Singer, the co-chair of the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition.

Singer isn't a traffic engineer but seems to know what he's talking about when it comes to studies and so forth and last month wrote what looks like a pretty comprehensive overview of the studies that have been done in the US and elsewhere. As for pedestrians, one problem, he says, is that no one has come up with a way to measure pedestrian traffic so traffic engineers make educated guesses or use anecdotal evidence. Singer cites a couple studies that even show roundabouts decrease pedestrian safety. Singer also points out that because of the nature of roundabouts, with motorists having to pay closer attention to other traffic than at traditional intersections, motorists trying to navigate into and around roundabouts aren't as likely to notice pedestrians and cyclists.

I myself don't like roundabouts because they're unfamiliar and are unfriendly to semi trucks (you can't get around them without pulling the trailer across the inner circle) and because two times I've been met by cars going around them in the wrong direction when I was getting off out at the big Rte 66 casino truck stop to get fuel. Singer points out how much land they use up and now I'm biased against them for that, too. As for my unfamiliarity, change is part of life but so is taking care of nice things when you have them. We have a very nice place here and I believe that a lot of this bulldozing, lane eliminating, rerouting and paving over is changing the very unique character of Albuquerque unnecessarily.

There are of course maniacs who fly down Rio Grande Blvd but that's a cultural problem called Capitalism that has us all running around in a frenzy trying to eke out for ourselves a few more precious moments of non frenzied pleasure or relaxation.