Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Income Tax Increase will Decrease Opportunity

“The last thing the foxy lawyer and the skanky developer want is for the state to step in and impose some fiscal order, as it has at the county level.”

In my previous post, I described  how an income tax levy, labeled the “safety levy,” was soundly rejected by Chillicothe voters on November 2, 2010. I predict that, by contrast, the proposed Portsmouth income tax increase, from 1.6 to 2 percent, which has also been labeled the “safety levy,” will pass on May 3, 2011. It won’t be passed by a landslide, but it will pass.
The Portsmouth income tax levy will pass, firstly, because it is being  called a “safety levy.” That scare tactic didn’t work in Chillicothe, but it probably will in Portsmouth.  If citizens think that if they don’t vote for the levy, if they think that if they don’t support the police and the fire departments, that they might be putting their lives and property in jeopardy, then they will vote for the levy.
The income tax levy will probably pass, secondly,   because it will appear on the primary ballot, in May, not on the general election ballot, in November. Far fewer citizens vote in primary elections, which increases the levy’s  chances of passage. The fewer the voters, the greater the  chance an unpopular ballot measure can pass. The majority of Portsmouth’s residents would probably  not favor an income tax increase, but the majority of Portsmouth’s registered voters  will not be voting in the primary election:  a  minority,  possibly a small minority of those  registered will vote for it because it will be in their economic interest.
The income tax levy will probably pass, thirdly, because city employees,  and especially members of the police and fire departments, will campaign vigorously for it, and those city employees who live in the city will vote overwhelmingly for it. The same city employees who worked so hard to remove Mayor Murray from office will work hard to pass the levy.
The  income tax levy will probably pass, fourthly,  because a committee has been formed to raise money and campaign in support of it.  The Committee in Support of Police and Fire has registered with the Scioto Board of Elections. A similar committee formed in Chillicothe to support the “safety levy” was not successful, but public employees and the police and fire personnel in particular have more political clout in Portsmouth than they do in Chillicothe.
The income tax levy will probably pass, fifthly, because its supporters  have a captive audience in the many senior citizens who live in private and public housing complexes in Portsmouth, and particularly those who live in private and public housing complexes where polls are located. No matter the weather, or whether it is a primary or a general election, these senior citizens located in complexes where polls are located don’t have to leave home to vote. Why and how the seniors vote, and who is in position to influence them, is something somebody should   look into. Not long before Mayor Murray was recalled from office, the director of Hill View, functioning as a ward heeler,  sent a letter to residents critical of the mayor that was political in its implications.  Did patients in the Alzheimer’s ward get a copy of  that letter? Will the tax levy get the Alzheimer vote? The door at Hill View is always open for city auditor Trent Williams to entertain or enlighten the residents.The most notorious figure in Portsmouth, Mike Mearan, was appointed to  the board of the Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Authority, in my opinion, for the same reason he was later appointed  to the Portsmouth City Council: to maintain the corrupt clique’s political control of the city.

City  auditor Trent Williams  holding forth at Hill View

Finally, and most importantly, the income tax levy will probably pass because the foxy lawyer and skanky developer who have never been elected to any public office but nevertheless control the economy and most of the public officials of Portsmouth  city goverment will conclude that it is in their interest to keep the state from declaring the city in a state of fiscal emergency. The last thing the foxy lawyer and the skanky developer want is for the state to step in and impose some fiscal order, as it has at the county level.
I hope I am proved wrong in my predictions, but I think the income tax levy will pass on May 3rd, and its passage will help perpetuate the kind of deficits the levy is supposed to alleviate, if not put an end to.  Too many of  the poor white trash are addicted to drugs, as Ohio County Losing Its Young to Painkillers’ Grip,” a story in today’s New York Times illustrates. What the Times did not point out is that many of the problems of Portsmouth are related to the  rich white trash who are hopelessly addicted to money. It is they who have removed competition and opportunity and made the city the soulless place where drug trips are the only way out for the young.  I think the passage of the income tax levy will help perpetuate the control of Portsmouth by the rich white trash who control almost everything in the city, not just the Chamber of Commerce and the SOGP, but the politicians, the chief of police, and the unions. The income tax increase will further decrease what little opportunity there is in Portsmouth.