Another tax? Not so fast

Augusta commissioners will have a Herculean task getting another penny added to the area's 7 cents of sales tax next year.

Their first task will be to move the needle off of "H--- No!" toward just "No!"

Good luck with that.

City officials will no doubt claim it's for essential services such as law enforcement. And, indeed, we've sold Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength short.

But few of us believe for a moment that the rest of the city's budget has been combed for savings. Until that happens, keep the tax increase proposals to yourself, city.

Reductions in force, employee furloughs and other painful but necessary steps have been taken in every other area of American life -- except in many governments. It's time that changed.

Commissioner Joe Bowles and others have also suggested privatizing the under-performing municipal golf course. That's just one example of creative cost controls that the city has yet to exhibit any taste for.

Again, until every other stone has been turned, any notion of a tax increase will be a nonstarter.

Now is precisely the absolute worst time in most of our lifetimes to be raising taxes. Every dollar that is sucked out of the private economy by government is a dollar that isn't used to get the economy growing again. History and economists have proven that the best way to assure a return to a recent recession, or to deepen an existing one, is to raise taxes.

The current proposal for a 1-cent "MOST" -- a Municipal Option Sales Tax -- is galaxies away from the special purpose local option sales tax voters overwhelmingly approved June 16. That proposal was for an extension of an existing tax -- and was targeted to complete a finite list of projects that passed muster with voters.

Now, however, the city is proposing a general-use tax to pad a budget that commissioners can't seem to cut sufficiently. Light-years different.

This time the answer is likely to be no.

Unless it's a stronger "no" than that.

More

Sat, 12/10/2016 - 22:00

‘Can’t replace the lives’