By Joe Platt
During this ‘virus’ economic downturn, Rep. Bill Seitz, Councilmember Jeff Pastor and Auditor Dusty Rhodes are still proponents of Issue 7, increasing the Hamilton County sales tax by nearly a full percentage point. Part of the pitch for Issue 7 is to provide money for road repair. That’s 25% true since only 25% of the $130 million to be collected yearly for 25 years will go to roads. Issue 7 is a $3billion bus tax proposed by the same people who operated the boondoggle called the Cincinnati Streetcar and who ‘managed’ our bus system to the sorry point it exists today.
Residents are voting on Issue 7 during the most chaotic primary in history. Early voting on Issue 7 began February 19. Since then, a “Stay at Home” order was imposed, businesses were shuttered, unemployment skyrocketed and a record crash in the stock market has occurred. “In-person voting” has been cancelled, reinstated, and cancelled again by the Governor. Now the legislature has changed the election date to April 28 and eliminated in-person voting entirely.
Dusty Rhodes, supporting Issue 7 during a March primary, has ‘evolved’. In a Cincinnati Post editorial dated October 23, 2003, found on the Auditor’s website, Rhodes argues all special levies, like Issue 7, should be on the ballot at the same time. He explains:
It is amazing that anyone would object to giving voters a complete picture. What is so wrong in encouraging more people to participate in deciding all county tax levies at a November presidential election instead of trotting them out, one at a time, in quiet primaries and sparsely attended special elections where poll workers often outnumber voters?
Rhodes notes, “The real scheme is putting these levies on the ballot at contrived intervals in a sequence designed to eliminate comparison and accountability.” He argues, “It is cynical to time levies so as to deliberately depress turnout and gain passage by organizing a narrow constituency.” Further, “The truth is the present system is stacked against the taxpayer. Those who are desperately trying to preserve it are on the way to bringing about a full-fledged, take no prisoners tax revolt… .” Rhodes observes, “What we are creating is an accelerating exodus of considerable proportions.”
With possibly months of a “Stay at Home” order ahead, watching retirement savings and bank account balances wither and yes, personal stockpiles of toilet tissue dwindle to a precious few rolls, voters in Hamilton County are left to question the wisdom of increasing the sales tax. Businesses must also worry about the impact of higher taxes on sales and the ability to rehire employees in the future.
Do you agree with Issue 7 proponent Dusty Rhodes, trotting out massive tax increases during “quiet primaries” and “sparsely attended” elections is a calculated scheme to prevent “comparison and accountability”? Dusty Rhodes is right, massive tax increases such as Issue 7 should be on the November ballot, particularly when considering what we are enduring. Request an absentee ballot and vote NO on Issue 7.