Dayton’s Issue 6 – Deceptive mailings

Mayor Nan Whaley tries to sell issue 6 as a renewal when it is in fact a permanent tax change at the same rate.

Let’s lie about what we’re really doing.

My parents and I received a postcard in the mail today asking us “On May 6, voter FOR ISSUE 6 and RENEW DAYTON.” My father, a senior, who is relatively astute, said that he read it- and has no clue what Issue 6 is.

Dayton is a Great City. Let’s Keep It That Way!

For 30 years, the people of Dayton have voted to RENEW DAYTON to maintain our city’s most vital services.

Voting FOR Issue 6 keeps thses services intact without raising taxes, which creates good jobs and strong neighborhoods for all Dayton families.

Ofiicials Agree: A Vote FOR Issue 6 Keeps Dayton Moving Forward

“The earnings tax is the largest source of money for the general fund, which pays for basic services – police, fire, street maintenance, snow removal, recreation centers and parks. If the earnings tax is not renewed, the impact would be nothing short of a disaster in the city of Dayton”

– Mayor Nan Whaley

To explain this honestly, Mayor Nan should tell you that for 30 years Daytonians have voted to raise an additional  .5% tax on people who work in the city via a TEMPORARY tax. This raised our total income tax from 1.75 to 2.25% which 30 years ago, was the highest in the region, with the exception of Oakwood which charged 2.5% on its residents- mostly because it has few people who actually work in Oakwood- and many who worked in Dayton and they needed to collect something.

The nature of these local municipal income taxes is sort of the same as what made the founding fathers revolt against the British- taxation without representation. Workers at law firms, corporate headquarters and major businesses downtown were to pay this tax- without having a say in what it was spent on, or if it was necessary. Our city fathers even sold it to the taxpayers this way- you vote for it- but most of it comes from commuter workers, and- the rest of the pitch was- it’s only temporary, until we get out of the hole we’ve dug ourselves into with our fat cat, nepotism system of government. The voters voted for it, time after time. The taxpayers- those commuter workers of Oakwood, Centerville, Vandalia, grumbled for a while, then, they started doing what commuter workers easily can do- commute elsewhere, where a move from Dayton to Kettering saved them .5% or to Austin Landing – the whole thing (if they are a white collar worker instead of a blue collar worker- yes, I know- I’m still scratching my head on that one.).

Dave Holmes, past CEO of Reynolds and Reynolds was the first to pull his Corporate HQ out of Dayton for greener pastures. No, he didn’t say it was because of the income tax, but, it was because of the income tax- and the arrogant treatment of the “monarchy of Montgomery County” that ran like a private club. Of course, he was also the first to find out that the taxpayers could be hoodwinked in the region, into paying to relocate his operations- with tax breaks offered to move to Kettering’s research park, then to build the Reynolds spin-off (back in Dayton) Relizon HQ at the corner of Monument and Patterson (now being taken over by CareSource, after Relizon’s step-child, WorkFlow One got bought by Standard Register- the last remaining old school big company in Dayton). They also got funding to build a call center- called a TAC- in the old Elder Beerman building- only to later abandon it, and sublease parts out to the Area Agency on Aging- and now also- CareSource. Every time he shuffled his walnuts on the table, he got tax breaks- much like a three-card monte shyster scores on his marks.

Again- the tax increase was temporary, it would have to be renewed, and each time, the same story was told – you don’t pay this tax, it’s other people paying this tax. People like Pam Morris at CareSource, who lives somewhere else but makes over $3 million a year administering federal tax dollars intended for the poor- and making her rich. Yeah, we can vote to stick it to her. But the flip side is, all her employees pay it too. And, we still build her buildings for her, and her parking garages, and give her incentives- because, we’re addicted to the teat of that income tax to keep the boat afloat. Every municipality is now, especially with the cuts in Ohio’s local government funds. Other communities are renewing and raising their “temporary” taxes too- with some, like Huber Heights that has been on a wild spending spree, talking about a 2.35% rate. Kettering is also boosting theirs, after years of managing on 1.75%

The patchwork of different tax rates in Montgomery County- and the state of Ohio is a major pain in the arse to businesses of all sizes. Different filing rates, filing times, filing forms, and filing websites. It makes Ohio a very business unfriendly state. Fines on missing deadlines can be in excess of the amount a business owes. Because of the complexity- companies like Intuit, maker of Quickbooks, can justify charging more for the tax tables for payroll than the software that runs it and get away with it. A secret hidden cost that could easily be done away with by a simplified statewide fair and balanced income tax.

Back to the reason Oakwood charges 2.5% is so it can collect .25% over and above the rate Dayton charged- and this gave them the ability to keep their amazing services at the highest levels. Things like backyard trash collection, sidewalk shoveling, and a combination police/fire/paramedic force that not only gave excellent service, but wrote traffic tickets and would make house calls when you got broken into. Dayton can barely manage to answer the phone. Even Oakwood is now struggling due to state cutbacks- and the end of the “death tax” killed off their last cash cow. They are making hard choices.

But, the real deception of the mailer is that Dayton voters have repeatedly voted to continue taxing without representation because they knew that without it- service cuts would happen. Guess what, service cuts have happened every year, even after they voted for it. Our temporary tax didn’t keep our kids’ swimming pools from being plowed under, they didn’t keep our police department staffed well, and cuts to fire and parks and everything else they promised wouldn’t happen- happened. There was no guarantee- but at least we had the option not to renew it to send a message.

This Issue 6 is an attempt not to renew the temporary tax- but to make it a permanent one. If we defeat it in May, we’ll see it again in November. Maybe as another temporary tax.  Because Nan Whaley is the Queen of Nan Whaley land- you only see her name, her picture on the mailing. And the treasurer of the mysterious “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future” is a Michael Voelkl, who lives in what I one called “Tony Capizzi’s Private Neighborhood” across from 10 Wilmington Place that was paid for with public dollars so City employees who at that time had to live inside the city limits, could live in a pseudo-gated community. Michael Voelkl, you see is a city employee, the “taxation and revenue manager” of the City of Dayton.

One wonders how much of the Hatch Act is being broken by having Mr. Voelkl head up the effort to make sure he still can be paid with taxes on those “commuter workers.”

[update] Voelkl retired from Dayton in 2003 and later took the position of New Carlisle’s tax manager in 2010. Thanks reader “skeptic” for correcting me. [/update]

Let’s be honest- this vote isn’t about renewing Dayton at all- it’s about bolting in the cord on the life-support system. It should be a no-brainer to pass, if it were presented honestly- but that’s not Mayor Nan’s style- she has to turn everything into an epic political battle for her to win- at any cost. Which frankly makes me sick and repulsed. This could have been easily sold to voters honestly- saying that these temporary tax levy campaigns are a pain, are expensive and take time, please help us cut out the waste of time. We’re still going to raise your water and trash rates, and charge you fines for police to respond to your alarm calls, and raise prices on parks and recreation, and complain we ran out of salt- but, at least, we’re not going to lie to you anymore- we can’t live within our means, and 2.25% is the minimum it takes- thank you.

 

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9 Responses

  1. Auston Hensley April 12, 2014 / 11:24 pm

    Interesting that you and I get the same flyer and reach the same conclusion for different reasons (that Nan’s tactics sicken me, although I would rather send a message to City Hall by having the tax measure defeated). Thing is, I ranted about the very same subject over at the C-D forum about five minutes before discovering this post, too. ( Here’s the post, for what it’s worth: http://www.city-data.com/forum/dayton/2093483-dayton-vote-no-issue-6-a.html )
    “Of course, City Hall threatens to throw a tantrum the minute they don’t get the money they want – they’ll threaten to cut services, they’ll guy the police, the fire, the street services, etc. But guess what, it looks like to me that despite the voters repeatedly approving this “temporary” tax, services get cut anyway. While Nan is pissing money away sending her cadre to Sharonville for a retreat, Dayton’s streets went unplowed last winter, the potholes still aren’t filled, and jobs are still leaving town. And don’t forget the fracas last year about the city billing people for the streetlight repairs.

    In other words, city services got cut anyway.”
    I guess, to put it this way – is there a viable alternative? I mean, I’m going to vote NO on May 6 – but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was outvoted four to one. And Nan will lose any semblance of accountability after that tax hike is permanent… Increasingly it seems my best solution is to head for the suburbs the minute my lease is up.

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  2. Skeptic April 13, 2014 / 2:54 am

    Corrections….
    Voelko hasn’t worked for Dayton in over a decade.   According to your link, Ms. Bootsie is still commissioner, too.
    Kettering’s tax is the same as Dayton’s tax.   Trotwood’s rate is the same, too.
    For comparison, Columbus is 2.5% and Cincinnati is 2.1%.
    I don’t see the benefit of bankrupting your city, but it it would certainly add to the damage done by the state legislature over the past couple years.
     
     

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  3. Gary Leitzell April 14, 2014 / 11:05 pm

    This  is misleading the public. I went before the commission and warned them about this because the ballot language will not disclose that this is a “Forever Tax”. “Hoodwinking the public will cause them to have buyers remorse” is what I stated. It would have been better to go for a 15 year renewal than a permanent tax. A permanent tax eliminates their desire to be accountable and sets up a premise for sloppy accounting in the future. It also sets the stage for a .25% increase in two years. Looks like I will have to go down to the commission on Wednesday and point this out once again. The public needs to know what they are voting on. The flyer states it is not an increase. However, in my opinion 8 years vs. forever is an increase. Not in amount but in duration. If it gets voted down it sends a message. It will appear again in November as a true renewal for a set duration. In my opinion voting no in May should produce a reformed version of the issue in November that would be more desirable for the public to accept. I am not opposed to this renewal, only the way it is being presented to the public. It is time to  be honest to the citizens you expect to pay this tax forever.
     

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  4. Auston Hensley April 15, 2014 / 10:38 am

    Gary I would like to hear what the alternative is considering this measure will likely pass by a margin of four to one or greater? I graduate from UD in three weeks but I have little reason to remain in the city unless I find employment here (and if I found a job at a place such as Wright Patt I would have a vested interest in moving to a suburb such as Washington Township or Beavercreek to avoid city taxes).
    I guess I’m saying I’m about to give up on the city. I guess you haven’t… what’s the secret? Because I voted in the primary, but not in the general election for the mayor’s race… I didn’t see many substantive differences between Whaley and Wagner (although their styles may be different).

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  5. Jay J. Krull April 24, 2014 / 12:47 pm

    Given the city of Dayton’s budget troubles at present – not even taking into account the fiscal stress that will come about as more baby-booming city employees retire and dip into a underfunded pension fund – it is clear to me that the move to make the earnings tax permanent is a prelude to an increase. Question: will such increases have to be brought to the voters for approval, or can an increase occur solely by action of the city commission?

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  6. David Esrati April 24, 2014 / 12:50 pm

    Jay- Unless there is some deceptive language in the “renewal” any increase must be voted on.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. Nick Brusky April 29, 2014 / 5:44 pm

    The great State of Texas just opened their arms today to Toyota, taking jobs from Kentucky and California. Why? Because not only does Texas not have these annoying City Income Taxes but they also have no State income tax. I think we would see many of these companies come back if we did the same.

    Unfortunately the parochial interests of most local elected officials stand in the way of this ever happening. When I worked at the statehouse there were many good proposals to simplify the collection of Municipal Income Tax. You should have seen the response from the municipal league. It was like handing a vampire garlic.

    Now Townships are getting into the game too (including where I’m trustee) through JEDZ’s. We need to scrap both the municipal income tax and the state income tax and replace it with a consumption tax. This type of tax structure works well in other states.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  8. Dad May 7, 2014 / 6:07 pm

    Now that the election is over, everyone talks about Issue 6 as “the Dayton income tax.”
    That’s what I wanted to know two weeks ago.

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