Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Conservative Democrat? Hardly.

Commissioner Pepper, a Democrat running for a statewide position, has tried to sell himself to the voters as a conservative Democrat who is fiscally responsible. He needs to try harder.

Let me explain. Here are Commissioner Pepper's own words written on his blog one year ago. (Check out the full blog posting here)

A decade ago, as part of the vote on whether to raise the sales tax 1/2 cent to pay for the new stadiums, the citizens were made a clear promise: that 30% of the receipts from the new sales tax would be returned to them through a property tax rebate (the "PTR").

This was a clear commitment made
prior to the citizens' vote.

And with that commitment publicly made, and about 60% voting yes, the citizens indeed authorized
taxing themselves an additional 1/2 cent to pay for the stadiums/riverfront, and to pay for the PTR that would be returned to them. Just like the promise was clear, the citizens' mandate was equally clear.

And it goes on...

In that light, I consider any move to divert dollars from the PTR to be a deeply illegitimate act. It lacks fundamental integrity....When that has occurred, as their elected representatives, we have no discretion or authority whatsoever but to implement and adhere to their decision faithfully. This is particularly true when citizens have consented to put more of their dollars into government for a specific purpose....To violate those orders now would fundamentally breach our mandate at a time when citizens already have lost so much faith in government.

Mr. Pepper flip-flopped and, in his own words, "fundamentally breached a mandate from the citizens."

The facts on this issue are very clear. The voters were promised a property tax rebate if they consented to a 1/2 cent sales tax increase. Mr. Peppers is prepared to break that promise. A vote to deny the rollback is worse than an un-voted tax increase. It is a vote for a tax increase when a tax rebate was the specific mandate of the people! Only Democrats have the audacity to raise your taxes when you have specifically told them not to do so!

Flip-flopping in politics seems to always work against the taxpayers. Politicians change their minds only when it seems to benefit government and not the taxpayers.

Mr. Pepper voted to raise taxes and violate a commitment to the voters that he recognized a year ago as an "illegitimate act."

The citizens of Hamilton County and Ohio deserve better.