Mayor Mike Bell and Toledo City Council should resist the urge to raise the payroll tax, whether on all citizens or just on those who work outside Toledo (“Canceling tax credit draws mixed support from council,” Feb. 18).
That is a short-term fix leading to long-term decline. Over time, citizens will move out and businesses will choose to locate outside the city.
The only answer is to adjust the city’s labor force size or pay/benefits package to bring them into alignment with Toledo’s current and projected revenues. That will cause pain and turmoil in the short term, but is the only true long-term solution if Toledo wants to pursue growth rather than decline.
Citizens will accept the pain and turmoil if they know the mayor and council are showing the courage to pursue the choice leading to long-term growth.
Peter R. Silverman
Don’t penalize union workers
The proposals presented by the City of Toledo and endorsed by The Blade (“Bell’s budget gives, takes,” editorial, Feb. 18) with respect to municipal union concessions are nonsense.
Any and all benefits that these hardworking public servants are receiving are the result of former concessions to help the city fix problems caused by its massive mismanagement of public funds.
We still have an empty Southwyck Shopping Center site, the Marina District, Erie Street Market, and other failed initiatives that were the fault of politicians, not those of workers who make Toledo run and function.
Mayor Bell should recognize the concessions made by the unions to help the city in the past. But now that he has changed hats, he seems to have suffered from amnesia.
The public must realize that municipal unions gave up multiple raises and increased benefits to help. Now the city wants to renege on the agreement it made to fix its mismanagement.
Fix the management problem without penalizing the workers who make the city livable.
Robert J. Zuber
Obtain income another way
How does the city come up with 19,200 Toledoans working outside the city? I work with 20 other people in Oregon and at least eight of us live in Toledo.
Last year, I paid around $840 in local taxes. If the tax credit was eliminated, I would have to pay an additional $840 on top of what I paid to Oregon.
My federal tax refund for 2009 was nowhere near that amount. The way my current finances are, I would be unable to pay this tax all at one time. I already pay the city’s various taxes for real estate, trash, and alley cleaning, which I have yet to see in the 28 years I have lived in my house.
I pay for schools and usually support their levies, even though I am single, have no children, and only attended kindergarten in the public schools when I was a child.
The city has to come up with another way to get income. I pay my taxes. Why doesn’t the city go after the people who have not paid theirs?
Mayor is not using creativity
When Mayor Mike Bell campaigned, he promised a more regional approach to economic development. Now, one of his first suggestions is to eliminate the reciprocal income tax credit. This is not very neighborly.
Placing a tax burden on the shoulders of the few thousand residents who work outside the city is not fair.
Maybe the mayor should change state law so that the city, village, or town that provides employment gets the income tax. What a terrific incentive that would be for municipalities to increase employment opportunities.
Bell embraces self-preservation
Toledo Mayor Mike Bell gets elected on the platform that his “new ideas” will pull Toledo out of its slump. Then he comes up with the often used idea that “we must raise taxes.”
The outrage from Toledoans is voiced in letter after letter in The Blade’s Readers’ Forum. Some say it’s business as usual in the city, but there has been no response from Mayor Bell about this.
Then letter writers state that they won’t vote for him again, and all of a sudden Mayor Bell decides raising taxes is not a good thing.
It’s amazing how his own job security trumps Mayor Bell’s ideas.
Get concessions from schools too
Toledo police and firefighters are told they need to sacrifice and give concessions.
Toledoans who work outside the city are told they will have to pay more income taxes to Toledo.
All residents are told they will not get their garbage pickup costs discounted as previously pledged.
Is there a reason that Toledo Public Schools teachers are not also asked for concessions?
Let the school board cut its budget and get concessions from teachers. In fact, let the school system exact cuts from all employees and balance the budget with the money it now has instead of asking voters to approve a levy (“TPS warns of ‘ugly’ result if tax plan fails,” Feb. 21).
And when this levy goes down, do not allow school officials to put it back on the ballot in August or November. Enough is enough.
Konop made concerted efforts
New, ambitious ideas introduced in a conventional town obviously affront the establishment. As I read of Ben Konop’s decision not to seek re-election, I wonder why citizens and constituents must be subject to such excessive partisanship (“Konop says he won’t run for 2nd term,” Feb. 15).
The bickering and the lack of problem solving are evident. The losers are the taxpayers who ostensibly elect leaders to make their communities a better, more functional society.
Mr. Konop entered the Lucas County commissioner’s office with solid academic credentials and experience. He put forth new, innovative ideas. I was disappointed in the early rejections of his proposals.
While Mr. Konop could have built a political coalition to give his ideas greater chance of passage, I applaud him for his efforts. I wish him the best and hope his efforts pave the way for other young, energetic candidates who see the need to push Lucas County out of its current political rut.
D. Lee Johnson
Hire Konop as dog warden
Ben Konop should take the job of Lucas County dog warden. He seems to know how the job should be done, and he could adopt all the pit bulls so they could be saved. That would be a good job for him, as he won't have one after this year.
Past year better than Bush eight
My answer to Sarah Palin's question, “How's that hopey, changey thing working out for ya?”:
I'll take one year of hope and change over eight years of dope and Cheney any time.
Lucas GOP's internal issues
Does anyone else see the irony in a political party that doesn't know how to hold a valid election within its own small ranks?