Here we sit amongst the crawfish and Gulf Wild Shrimp, debating the merits of a 1% sales tax levied on the citizens of Mobile. Let me say up front that this is an issue that as polarized citizens of the Port City more than the spray painting of the Government Street cannon. I have not heard as much banter amongst "southern folk" since I decided to cut down an Azalea from my yard. Taxes are as much a part of the morning Whistle Stop conversation as the brand of mud tire on your GMC. Taxes infuriate Southerners....both rich and working poor. While I understand the temptation towards rebellion against all new taxes and the intrusion of the government on the working man, I am educated enough too see the necessity of tax dollars. I get a check just like everyone else, and after taxes, insurance and retirement planning.....I have considered cutting grass or stocking shelves at Walmart when I should be sleeping. Lets face it, Americans are pinched to the limit. The harder we work, the more they take. As any good Mobilian will tell you, our priorities are screwed up. We have battled over identity. We have battled over annexation. We have had strings of pearls, noise ordinances, sport failures, museum melancholy, cruise ship abandonment, Chicago dirty politics. We have been kicked around and spread out politically all over the county. Crime is an issue. jobs are an issue. Trash in rivers are an issue. Who are we as a city? Well, I have my own thoughts on that but lets stick to the issue.
Mobile mayor Sam Jones is proposing, once again, a 1% sales tax to help the city manage an upcoming budget shortfall of 27 million dollars. There are many people in this city who feel that Mayor Jones is not capable of managing the city finances and that giving him more money will not alleviate future budget shortfalls. There is the main argument against the added sales tax. Lets not kid ourselves into believing that the average citizen is incapable of paying an extra cent on every dollar spent. The argument is NOT over whether an extra 10 bucks on a thousand dollars will break the bank of Mobilians. People have not stopped buying cigarettes although a carton is nearly $70. This is an outcry from the public over the management of city funds.
Let me say up front, that this will be an issue no matter who is mayor. The public will always question why we are spending money. Some people like downtown....some don't. Some people like sporting events....some don't. I want my neighborhood paved just like the guy 2 miles down the street. This is normal. Lets talk about REAL consequences and REAL problems with a singular mindset of stopping government waist.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a vested interest in the sales tax decision. I come from a family of city workers. Half of my family income comes from a city worker. I could easily fall into the ranks of those selfishly not wanting a tax hike based on my ability to afford satellite TV. I AM NOT THAT GUY. I believe in limited government, responsible spending, reduced earmarks, lower taxes. I also believe in the American system that allows us to make changes while protecting our "means of production"
If you do not like Sam Jones, then show it at the polls. If you want Bess Rich as your next mayor, show it at the polls. DO NOT DESTROY YOUR CITY TO MAKE A POINT. The fact is that Mobile will fall short of budget projections come October. The fact is that the city will have to eliminate jobs of hard working Mobilians contributing to the cities survival. The fact is that city services will suffer. The fact is that Mobile will grow ever closer to a less productive, less employed, less tax generating, less attractive place to live. If you do not like Sam Jones then vote at the next election, but do not sacrifice Mobile and it's citizens at the alter to make your point. There is no need to destroy your city to have change. If you are un-happy then VOTE.
For all of you people wanting a new mayor......why would you vote them in and give them the burden of a budget shortfall. No matter who your chosen one is..they do not have a magic pill to solve the city debt crisis. Someone once said that money does not grow on treas......it does not matter who the farmer is. Pass the tax...fix the budget....pay our police and fire workers....then decide who you want running a VIBRANT CITY. Elect a person who you believe in but do not destroy a city to get there.
By not passing this sales tax you are ruining your city. Your college graduates are leaving. Your middle class is leaving. Your law abiding citizens are leaving. WAKE UP Mobile. We want a vibrant and safe city. If that is not happening then vote new leadership....do not destroy lives by cutting jobs and suspending services. Make that decision at the polls but right the ship before it sinks. Everyone can call for a new boat captain, but when the ship hits an iceberg....lets stay afloat before we have meetings on who's fault it is. SAM JONES.....here is my extra penny! good luck.