On Tuesday, January 5, the regular session of the Tucson City Council was move to the Civic Center in anticipation of large protest crowds. The agenda that day included the discussion of budget options, including cuts to public safety and a new “Landlord’s Tax”.
Many people from groups representing police, fire, and renters were there. Volunteers from Tucson Tea Party were selling T-shirts. Trent Humphries, of Tucson Tea Party, was there chatting with people. He said that during the study session earlier that day, Ward VI councilman Steve Kozachic, with budget book in hand, offered a number of specific items in the one to two million dollar category that could be cut from the budget immediately. Humphries also reported that both public safety cuts and the “Landlord’s Tax” were now “off the table.”
The abandonment of the public safety cuts and the new tax appeared to take much of the energy out of the crowd. While many people milled around outside the hall, there were few signs and little excitement among the protestors.
In related news, a committee was formed to recall mayor Bob Walkup and councilmen Regina Romero and Karin Uhlich. The committee includes Umberto Lopez, local developer and investor, and the Tucson Tea Party. Papers are to be filed January 6, 2010.
It is not news that City of Tucson revenues are way down. Sales taxes account for 42% of discretionary spending, and they have dropped off significantly, with no relief predicted in the near future.
In response, the City has cut back in the areas of hiring, training, and travel. It has also â€œslashed 10 percent of what it gives social services groups,â€ according to a local daily.
I have an idea. How about slashing 100 percent of what it gives to social service groups? It would be timely in light of the current budget problems, and no, Iâ€™m not suggesting that charities and non-profits not receive funding. Iâ€™m suggesting that they be funded directly by the people. Private donations are usually based on the institutionâ€™s performance. Government donations are based on politics. Besides, if you let the government make your donation decisions for you, the next thing you know, theyâ€™ll be choosing your light bulbs for you.
Seriously, is it not somewhat dehumanizing when the City infringes on the realm of giving? When you freely give your money to a worthy cause, your karma improves and your character is strengthened. When you give other peopleâ€™s money to a worthy cause, you receive no such benefits.
If you think that people only do the right thing when forced to do so, then you will find free societies frustrating.