have been writing for a year in this blog and by my own admission I have taken a pretty jaded view of many of our local city government decisions. Common sense has run in short supply in council chambers over the past several years and logic, well...the boat must still be in transit somewhere.
Now comes the Arizona Supreme court on the 25th of this month and delivers a drop-to-the-canvas upper-cut to state governmental subdivisions. That finding should bring an abrupt halt to further give-aways of taxpayer dollars as incentives for private or corporate investments within their jurisdictions.
The CityNorth decision finds that government subsidies to encourage development violate the Gift Clause of the Arizona Constitution. I would certainly hope that will extend to the handouts of taxpayer funds distributed by the city for just a host of projects on private property where the city would supposedly reap some nebulous benefit that just can't be quantified, of course, until the project is completed - if ever.
Hello - new ball game! With taxpayer funds still dwindling on all fronts, the push will begin in earnest at all levels of government to start the tax increases and bond issues we all know have to be coming. The state Legislature is greasing the skids to get a sales tax increase on a May special election and the city council will remain mum until after the city election, but after that, the local revenue boost quest will gather a renewed momentum.
The heavily weighted special interests that have the most to gain from any re-loading of the public trough with even two bucks of discretionary public money will be waving the tax and spend banner with all their might.
Even as city revenues appear to drag like a boat anchor well beneath budgeted spending levels, the sheer silence as to any further corrective city action is ominously deafening. Mohave County unemployment levels continue to rise even as we're fed a bogus national hope that things are not deteriorating as quickly as they were.
That's like telling Titanic travelers, "We're only sinking 2 feet per minute now instead of 3, isn't that great"? Or the jerk near the center of the ship who perceives that, "We're not sinking at all, the deck's just tilting a little."
This coming year will be one of the most interesting, if not totally disappointing, to come along since the Great Depression. None shall be spared from its tentacled reach - not even us clear out here in the sticks.
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