Before raising taxes, Dayton needs a plan

Generally, when you raise prices on a product, you offer something extra. Bigger, better, new and improved. Yet, Dayton is seriously considering raising income taxes as a solution to years of mismanagement.

As the population has shrunk, they’ve added employees in all the wrong places- to slap Band-Aids on the bullet wound that busing inflicted on our city. We tried like crazy to ignore the elephant in the living room. And now, nearly 40 years later- we’re just starting to make serious efforts at fixing the problems (without straight up admitting what they were- yes, our schools sucked, we’re fixing it).

Our divisions of jurisdictions make it too easy to pick and choose, and release anyone from responsibility. Who do you blame- school boards, superintendents, parents of poor kids, the judge, the “white flight,” the unions- or the Mayor and the Commission, the City Manager, the police chief, the unions? Or, do you just get fed up and move away?

There is zero accountability here. There is also zero leadership. All we do is form committees, task forces and ask for a plan. Then again- we have no leader to own the plan, and no action ever gets taken.

Then we get subjected to banal babbling by an editor at a “newspaper” that can barely write a story worth reading- (except when you let your top sports writer take on something like a sailor’s recollection of a kamikaze attack)

In talking about the proposed tax increase, Ellen Belcher says:

Though the city certainly has its advantages, it struggles mightily to recruit new businesses and new residents. Exactly how much the income tax figures into prospects’ considerations is hard to quantify. But it certainly isn’t irrelevant; and having the distinction of a tax rate that’s higher than almost every other community in the region can’t be a good thing….

Citizens aren’t public administrators. Many can’t point to specific ways of doing business that will markedly change Dayton’s costs, even though they’re sure that there must be some.

via Editorial: Tax increase is hard sell in Dayton | A Matter of Opinion.

Really, Ellen- what are the “advantages”? And, what makes you qualified to judge candidates? You never asked what strategies each candidate would use to “markedly change Dayton’s costs” in your endorsement interviews?

Asking to raise taxes to maintain the same services, the ones that haven’t been working so far, is just another nail in an already well constructed coffin. In fact, there aren’t any additional services or promises the current crew running our city could make that would give any voter hope that raising the taxes will somehow change the direction the City is headed. That makes this discussion moot.

So, how should they ask for more taxes? Get ready for a real alternative to discuss:

Shrink the city

We’ll raise taxes, and bring in some large cash payments to consolidate and improve our core:  by promising to either sell off assets- say, offer to hand over the parts of Dayton that are in Huber Heights, Riverside or Harrison Twp. school districts to those communities- in exchange for those communities passing bonds to pay us a part of the future income tax revenue that is generated- giving us cash now- and a smaller footprint to manage. Sell off the non-contiguous parts of Dayton as well- like the airports- and the “enterprise zones” to either regional entities like the county or the “booming” burbs, in exchange for cash now.

Sitting with cash in the hand- we have to make a decision- consolidate some more- by using this money to re-balance our city, moving people from sparsely populated or run down neighborhoods into strong ones- then cut services and our service area to these old areas- until we’ve got our core neighborhoods as healthy as possible.

Change the way we do business in the city

Or we can take the blighted communities and create free-for-all zoning, and offer every single piece of property that the city already owns, on the market at bargain rates, as long as the buyer makes a commitment to occupy the property and pay at least a set income tax with new residents only. The property values for the taxing purposes are the purchase price- however the income tax requirement must be met- or the property is taken back and resold. If it isn’t new residents moving in- the property tax is set normally.

The object is to bring in additional income tax payers, plain and simple. All increases in tax revenue would be used to provide the highest quality government services: ie police, fire, water, sewer, trash- at the lowest price. There will be a guarantee of zero expense on marketing, “economic development” or other non-essential government services.

Grow the city

The gutsy move is to somehow grow the city. First would be to look at adjoining townships. Harrison, Jefferson (and there probably is another one or two) and try to acquire them. While the residents may not want to pay a higher income tax- we’re already providing some of their services. The question is- how are we going to propose our change in the way we do business that they’d be willing to give up their current small government for something bigger? This is where the city has failed. Had we been doing things right- this shouldn’t be a hard sell. Ask the average person in Jefferson Township if they’d like to be a part of Kettering- and they’d probably say yes. Say Dayton- and they’d think you were crazy. Operationally- we’d need to clean house and rebuild the way Dayton works- to instill and inspire confidence enough that this would be an option. Unfortunately- we don’t elect the kinds of leadership that can think like this. Typically in a bad market- is when great companies grow the most. Their value increases as they snatch up the weak. In a bad market- the weak- typically do what Dayton is thinking of doing- delaying bankruptcy as long as possible.

Are these fully fleshed out ideas- no. I’m sharing them with you as discussion points to give direction to the people “in charge.” The one thing that is for sure- with business as usual there is no point in accepting a tax hike, unless they are ready to give up.

If anything, we need to lower the tax rate and offer more opportunity for investment- but without confidence in a plan on where we’re headed, investment won’t come- no matter how much money you throw at potential investors.

Your thoughts?

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90 Comments on "Before raising taxes, Dayton needs a plan"

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:) … too bad you got rid of the rating mechanism.  I bet you would have a lot of thumbs up for that one.

Bruce Kettelle

Jesse said: “Bruce…many of us understand the whole local, federal, state tax issues.”


My post was to try and get this thread back on track.  Dayton, Trotwood, Kettering etal need to find new measures that allow them to become more goal oriented in the way they direct spending. Taxes will never change for the better if spending habits are not better examined.  Can government spend money on projects that will cause private investment which produces greater return than the government cost?  Does that investment need to create a break even or better for the local governemnt? Is it worthwhile to fund the necessary financial analysis to monitor that attainment?

The latter could be fairly costly to perform acurately. 

I was excited when I first saw this thread and hoped to see the Esrati gang actually do a little constructive group think to tackle the question “Before raising taxes does Dayton need a plan?”

Robert Vigh
Robert Vigh


We tried! I looked around Dayton’s website off and on for awhile and they do not exactly make it easy find data. I looked because I did not want to argue in the abstract. Have any links to discuss real #’s? Where do people mine for information?


Robert Vigh:

Where do people mine for information?

I’ve been using Google’s site search feature, the query


Turns up some interesting stuff, you can even watch the budget meeting.  That’s how I got the 73% number on personnel costs, from the pdf of the slides of the budget presentation.  Not much detail, but it’s a start…


I am not truth. I didn’t say that. I posted links to a book.


I am not truth. I didn’t say that. I posted links to a book.


Bruce Kettelle

There are customized performance based measurement plans in effect in many cities across the country.  For example in Pittsburgh the have developed a model that allows the Mayor (and public) to monitor the city by department by setting specific goals (such as the number of graffiti abatements) which are reported monthly.  What I find lacking in most of these systems are ways to monitor longer range broad ROI monitoring.  Lets say for instance Austin Road costs x to build, add y for additional studies, marketing, and incentives then compare that total to the amount of new property, payroll and sales taxes (etal) generated by the businesses attracted.  Is it beneficial for the project?  Is it beneficial for the County?  Is it beneficial for the region or state?  Those would be great questions to answer.
Pittsburgh’s Pitt Maps reports are here
Dayton has also done budget goal setting, here is one recent online report.
What I do not see on line is any regular  reporting on how they are doing, or how they are measuring their success.  Does anyone else know where to find those reports?

Bruce Kettelle
Bruce Kettelle

Jesse, sorry for the misquote, I’ll try to do better.

Good post Bruce… I believe that regarding a “plan” of sorts, needs to first concentrate on core services before they can direct focus on economic development, partnerships, and regional cooperation. By core services I mean the usual…police, fire, streets, sewer, and water.  Not the extras.  In relation, I think that this plan does have some to do with the taxing rant that I posted.  Until the plan takes money that is earned from taxes, and puts it where it needs to be, then no corporation is going to move into Dayton, no matter how lucrative you make things financially for them. When your PD is a few hundred down from say 5-8 years ago, you have a major problem.  No business wants to be a part of a community where the crime is off the hook.  The only thing you may see is a business come into Dayton, but their employees will live elsewhere. The plan has to include an uprise in education.  They have new buildings all over the place, can they turn out an educational product that makes it desirable to move in?  Who knows. It is all a mentality.  Your city commissioners have the mentality that is bringing the city down.  From the DDN on 05/15/10:  Mr. Dean Lovelace, “A lot of young brothers and sisters aren’t sure what a police officer does or associate them as just carrying a gun. We have to help break down these tensions and change.” I am sorry, but the city will spend more time, money, and focus on hiring what they feel they need to help race relations, than just flat out hiring the nest candidates for the job.  What does this have to do with “brothers and sisters”?  It has to to with people.  The us against them mentality is killing the region.  Focus the attention on the problems, not the people trying to make the world a better place.  If I lived in Dayton I wouldn’t care if the officer that showed up was black, white, brown, green, purple, blue, or yellow, just as long as the last 50… Read more »

I agree, good post Bruce (I would have thumbed it up, but the thumbs went away… ) .

What I do not see on line is any regular  reporting on how they are doing, or how they are measuring their success.  Does anyone else know where to find those reports?

From that same query in my response to Robert, there’s a few department-level budget presentations, and some of them mention things in the Focus report (which has goals, but I’m not sure how SMART they are) and generally have an ‘accomplishments’ slide for the year.  Not really exactly what you’re looking for, but that’s the closest I’ve found so far.



The plan has to include an uprise in education.  They have new buildings all over the place, can they turn out an educational product that makes it desirable to move in? Who knows.

Watch the 5-5-10 City Commission meeting; several Gates Scholarship winners out of Dayton, or if you don’t want to watch, here’s the summary from the minutes:

2010 Gates Millennium Scholars
Mayor Leitzell invited Dayton Public Schools’ Superintendent, Dr. Kurt Stanic, to the podium to introduce the 2010 Gates Millennium Scholars—Jordan Davis, Megan Edmonds, Sheldon Brown, Victoria Whorton. Ms. Lavender read and presented a Greeting from the City Commission to each student. Dr. Stanic said that Dayton Public Schools has more Gates Millennium Scholars than any other school district in the State of Ohio. Each student introduced themselves, their accompanying family members, and stated which college they planned to attend in the Fall of 2010. Following the students’ introductions, Dr. Stanic acknowledged Stivers School of the Arts, Ms. Erin Dooley and Dr. Judy Hennessey at Dayton Early College Academy, and thanked them for their contributions.  The Clerk of Commission, Ms. Rashella Lavender, read and presented a Greeting from the City Commission to each student.  Commissioner Whaley congratulated the students and told them she hoped they all returned to Dayton following the completion of their education.  Commissioner Joseph concurred with Commissioner Whaley and expressed his congratulations.  Commissioner Williams asked about the competition involved in being named a Gates Millennium Scholar.  Students Victoria Whorton and Jordan Davis briefly described the application process.  Commissioner Williams congratulated the students and expressed his pleasure at seeing the male students being honored by the Gates Millennium Scholarship program.  After the students left the podium, Commissioner Lovelace called up the 2013 Dayton Civic Scholars to the podium to introduce themselves to the Commission and the community. Each student stated their name and where they were from.  Commissioner Whaley thanked the students and said she looked forward to seeing them do great things.


I never said that there aren’t educated children coming out of DPS.  Wrong wording.  The general education taught, school environment, crime in schools, accountability, etc…is poor.  You are going to have qualified and education kids coming out of every district.

If you move here from out of state, because your employer decided to open up a plant…Do you live where your kids go to DPS?  Or do you go elsewhere?  The research that one finds in looking at districts, won’t point to DPS.  The info you provide won’t even be part of the research.  If DPS are so great, then why are people moving out, versus moving in?  Curious to why Northmont and Trotwood have had an influx of kids that originally started out at DPS.

Bruce Kettelle

Truth the kids thing is bigger than schools.  It has to do with convenience, quality of life, safety and schools.  Unfortunately this thread is about the city budget.  In Ohio cities can do little to impact the schools or their budgets.

The environment where you choose to raise you children can be affected by the city through police, neighborhood appeal, recreation (both public and private), and the ease of getting to and from everything.  This encompasses police, fire, parks, public works, and economic development departments.  Do the goals the city has set track these forces at work and and measure results such as the trend of children populations in the city?


The goals the city has are not widespread to the general Miami Valley population.  Most people don’t know what is going on, because the majority of the information isn’t part of the major media outlets.  Face it….Dayton development doesn’t sell papers or ad time…crime, violence, stupidity, etc…does.  I try to keep an eye on what Dayton is doing, but I am more concerned locally.  Schools and service improvements in my area have my attention at this point.  I agree with you that it is bigger than the schools.  But 4 kids isn’t representative of the entire student population, and that small group of success, isn’t close to being representative of the majority of the kids (or schools) within DPS.  The reason that schools, taxes, and development plans have been discussed here is because they are all relevant and they are all connected.  If they (ideas) aren’t connected, then the entire community will fail.
DPS has become a victim of it’s environment, just like successful and reputable districts are on the other side of the fence.  You can’t expect to have good schools with a dumpy city that has limited opportunities.  Jobs promote an educated college graduate workforce, which IMO, breeds programs in local schools.  I am curious to know what the percentage of DPS kids are enrolled at UD, WSU, or Sinclair.  We have great Tech programs in the Valley, but nowhere for the graduates to find work.
There is no simple answer.  Much of it lies with being able to impress prospective employers to come to Dayton.  Once again, you need good core services for this.  I bet they have all of the information they need.  You can have all the information you need, but if your leaders don’t have the vision and capability to deal with issues, versus shaking hands and kissing babies, then you are screwed.  So yes…thay have the information.  They lack the ability and the vision to complete goals, or the goals don’t go towards building the core services.

Really, gentlemen: I should expect you to pay me tuition.   First: yes, the wealthy do pay the bulk of income taxes.  The top 5% of the income-earners pay 50% of the IRS revenues.  Then again, the top 5% controls 62% of the wealth.  So to be fair, they should be paying 12% MORE in IRS taxes, right? Well, no.  Because they pay incredibly less of their incomes in such regressive taxes as sales tax, gasoline tax, etc.  Sure, Donald Trump buys a car that costs 10 times what mine did.  But the sales tax I paid on my used Honda Civic ($750) was around 1.5% of my income; the tax that the Donald pays on his new Rolls Royce (if he’s at a 7.5% tax rate, around 33,750) would be around 0.0008% of his income.   Those who think that’s a “fair tax” need to have dental work done on their ears.   Now, the next part of the lesson.  The income tax brackets do not apply to all of your income.  They apply only to the part of your income that falls into that bracket.   Let’s do a word problem.  Let’s say that there’s a top tax bracket of 90%.  Now, in the 1950s, that applied only to income above 1 million dollars–if we were to reimpose that bracket but adjust for inflation, nowadays it would only apply to income above approximately 8 million per year (depending on how you calculate inflation).  So let’s keep things simple and impose that tax bracket above the current ones (and let’s not consider deductions and marital status–this is after all an introductory class: 10% up to 8375 15% up to 34000 25% up to 82,400 28% up to 171,850 33% up to 363,750 35% up to 8 million (our new bracket) 90% above 8 million.   OK.  The top 0.01% of wage-earners in the USA earn above approximately $5.5 million dollars per year, so some of that elite group won’t even fall into th 90% tax bracket.  So let’s just see what income taxes would be paid by the… Read more »
truddick: Really, gentlemen: I should expect you to pay me tuition. Well, thanks for the free lesson.  Seems the old saying about getting what you pay for holds tru… Y’know, I am not advocating that we have a top tax bracket that suddenly shoots to 90%. Oh, really?   This does actually have something to do with Dayton.  Higher marginal rates fuel capital flight.  Does that sound like something that we need?  Substitute ‘region’ for ‘country’: Despite widespread reduction of marginal tax rates throughout the world, there remains considerable misunderstanding about what marginal tax rates are and why they matter. The common practice of measuring tax receipts as a percentage of GDP, for example, is too static. It ignores the destructive effects of tax avoidance on tax revenues, the numerator of that ratio, and on the growth of GDP, the denominator. A sizable portion of productive activity may cease, move abroad, or vanish into inefficient little “informal” enterprises. And just as so-called tax havens attract foreign investment and immigrants, countries in which the combined marginal impact of taxes and benefits is to punish success and reward indolence often face “capital flight” and a “brain drain.” OECD in Figures (2003) shows total taxes as 45.3 percent of GDP in France, compared with 29.6 percent in the United States. But it would be a mistake to conclude that the higher average tax burden in France is a result of that country’s more steeply graduated income tax. French income tax rates claim half of any extra dollar at incomes roughly equivalent to $100,000 in the United States, and exceed the highest U.S. tax rates at even middling income levels. Yet these high individual income taxes account for only 18 percent of revenues in France, about 8.2 percent of GDP, while much lower individual income tax rates in the United States account for 42.4 percent of total tax receipts, or 12.5 percent of GDP. Countries such as France and Sweden do not collect high revenues from high marginal tax rates, but from flat rate taxes on the payrolls and consumer spending of people with… Read more »
truddick…”Fair” to who?  Fair to you because you want less of a tax burden for yourself and more for the fat cat? I am not in one of those higher tax brackets.  Take the same percentages from me as you do from the guy making 3mil.  I shouldn’t pay a different percentage than the guy making 25k a year. This is the problem with the way some think.  They think that just because you make more, that it is okay for the government to take a higher percentage of your income.  It isn’t.  Your argument comes from the idea that it is okay to punish that high earner with higher “bracketed” incomes.  “Fair” is paying the same pecentage of income across the board.  Penalize those that have prepared themselves, outsmarted the other guy, worked hard, fell into luck, etc….that seems “fair”….doesn’t it? I win the lottery….why is it the government’s right to penalize me because I fell into some luck?  Treat it as earned income, at the same percentage as the construction worker, the grocery clerk, the owner of company A, etc…not at some rate where half of my winnings (earnings) doesn’t even touch my hands. Yes…this is a mentality problem.  Which is why taxes and Dayton government go hand in hand.  This same taxation mentality is the “way of life” mentality for governments, people, and programs.  Let’s pillage those earners to pass it onto the non-earners or low earners.  On the same scale…lets fund everything in Dayton on the backs of the property owners, yet the non property owners are the ones using the benefits.  This is what many fail to understand.  It is much more than a numbers game.  It is a mindset.  A mindset that breeds creative rubbing of earners in America.  Not creative ways of attempting to change (for a lack of a better term) the lazy ass American.  Your government has attempted to put everything on the backs of the earners.  When those earners get sick and tired of it, they move on.  High corporate tax rates anyone?  Those jobs went out of the US, out… Read more »
Bruce Kettelle
Bruce Kettelle

Considering we have been engaged in active war since 9-11 (wartime economy) I find it surprising that American’s are paying historically low federal tax amounts.  The country has not enjoyed rates this low since 1955. (Yes I did say ‘enjoyed’)

Ice Bandit
We also might have a substantive discussion about whether people who have profited most generously from our system of economics and laws might not be expected to give back most generously (truddick)   True story truddick. A score of years ago,  one of the Old Bandito’s mentors had just written a puff column about the wealthy which began with the words “Michael Jordan makes a million dollars a year, Ross Perot makes a million dollars a year.” The next day, before he could even finish his morning coffee, he was greeted by an irate caller on his phone. “This is Ross Perot,” the caller said, “did you write in a column that I made a million dollars last year.” The mentor, convinced it was the Bandito pulling one of his (in)famous office pranks, humored the caller who went on and on about the offending lede paragraph. The caller, who felt he was not being taken seriously, then escalated his discontent. According to legend, the brand new device known as the fax machine then lit up like a Pacman machine. Reams of financial information, from tax statements to articles in Forbes magazine, started to pour out of the machine out on the floor. It was then the mentor realized this was no prank and  he had the honest-to-goodness and highly agitated Ross Perot on the other line. And the information overload suggested that Perot, as the writer inferred, was not pleading poverty but was making over a million bucks a day. “Well Mr. Perot,” the mentor asked, “if you had that great a year, why are you upset that I wrote you made a million last year?” “Because if people read I only made a million last year,” Perot exclaimed, “they’ll think I’m broke.” What’s the point, after that long reminiscence you may ask, dear truddick? That definition of who is wealthy, like the definition of who is in poverty, is a relative term. To Ross Perot, folks making six figures were people biting poverty in the posterior. And the Bandito’s aunts, who vows as Sisters of Charity forbade the own… Read more »
Ice Bandit

We also might have a substantive discussion about whether people who have profited most generously from our system of economics and laws might not be expected to give back most generously (truddick)
Superlative idea, truddick. Let’s have that heart-to-heart, mano te mano, intellectual no-disqualification cage match right here and right now at center ice with neither sticks nor gloves nor helmets. And methinks our disagreement is one of fundamental philosophy. The Old Bandito has no problem with your contention that the wealthiest “give.” But giving, according to everyone from Webster to Funk and his tag-team partner Wagnallis, implies a voluntary donation of wealth or service. But there ain’t nothing voluntary about the confiscatory and thuggish IRS and you may be confusing “give” with “surrender.” Furthermore the IRS has almost extra-constitutional powers which are not seen in any other governmental arena. Suppose the Old Bandito, frustrated to insanity by the pro-tax postures of David Esrati, enters the Fairfield Commons, takes off all his clothes, and unleashes a 45 minute reign of terror with a set of vice-grips, a blow-torch, and a Sears Die hard battery. Upon being arrested (and made to put his clothes back on) the Old Bandito would be given a government paid lawyer and the presumption of innocence, regardless of how many folks witnessed the mayhem. Furthermore, his ownership of property would be uncontested by all but civil courts. But let someone be the target of the IRS and confiscation of property is the order of the day and out the window flies any presumption of innocence. So perhaps, dear truddick, “giving” is not the most appropriate of terms. “Taking” by the government, we may all agree, is more appropos….


David Esrati:

how would Steve Jobs make all that money- if he didn’t employee all those people? Who would he sell iPads and iPods and Macs and iPhones to- if they couldn’t afford them?

Selling mainly to your employees is generally known as a pyramid scheme, and do most of the rest of us have money to buy iPods because of taxes?  I’m not even trying to argue that high taxes are “good” or “bad”, just that we should recognize the effects they will have.  Those effects can certainly be good or bad for Dayton’s future.

Let’s say[…] and maybe we’ll see a return of a middle class in this country.

Lets focus on Dayton rather than the country, and rather than all that draconian bureaucracy ripe for crony capitalism that you suggest, we can look down the road to local enterprises that are trying to compete with that evil, cheap, overseas labor through innovation and technology…
Can’t you gents see the perfect circle you are promoting?  Business won’t invest (because taxes are too high/capital flight), so we need government to fix the problem through economic development (crony capitalism), but this is unsustainable because the enterprises are picked by Barney Bureaucrat rather than customers, so then we need to raise taxes, so then more capital flees, so we clearly need more government economic development effort, but that’s unsustainable so…  We couldn’t possibly be causing these viscous feed-backs through our own policy choices right?  It has to be some fat cat Banker’s fault!
Lower taxes, and cut-off the air to the crony capitalism (or corporate welfare if you prefer) that’s using productive wage earners as the grease for it’s tracks.  We probably all agree on the Good, we just disagree on how we need to get there (with more or less support in economics and human nature for our respective arguments).  David, saying that we’re braying and whining about a gratis tutorial that avoided completely the impact the results presented might have on Dayton (which is still the topic right?) is a bit insulting.

Ice Bandit

We also might have a substantive discussion about whether people who have profited most generously from our system of economics and laws might not be expected to give back most generously (truddick)
And just who, dear truddick, have profited most by our system of commerce? Is it those who take risks with their finance or reputation to create wealth? The Old Bandito says no. The real beneficiaries are those who make terrible life choices and yet can rest assured that a financial safety net will catch them. It is the criminals, who are a constant drain on and the reason for the size and scope of our expensive justice system,who can rely on a taxpayer financed lawyer and a bevy of social services. It is the perpetually ill who can depend upon a system that not only provides for super costly and long term treatments like dialysis, but transportation to these clinics as well. Someone has to pay for this uber expensive dog and pony show, and the class warriors have thrust this burden unto the backs of the doers. Just how long they will be willing to sustain this weight is subject to speculation, since technology now allows one to conduct business in Dayton from someplace like San Jose, Costa Rica. But should those who benefit most, without creating wealth or stimulating the economy, give more back? Absolutely…

Leave shit alone.  Let people do as they please within the law.   Make money.  Invest.  Save.  Whatever they want. That IS the issue.  Name things that the government is responsible for that actually works properly?  Military?  That’s the closest.  And that is because you have people that know, reporting to the people that don’t, and the people that don’t, just cut a check and leave our forces alone. More government control.  Trying to make ends meet by taxing the rich.  WILL NOT WORK.  The fact is that the countries that are economically taking off, have lower taxes than the US.  Why is that continually ignored? Bailouts shouldn’t have happened.  I don’t get a bailout when I screw up.  Neither should the asswipes in Detroit.  If you are part of a pension system or employed by these people…too bad.  You were part of the problem to begin with.  Combine that with ridiculous corporate tax, shipping jobs out of the country…you have the disaster that resulted.  My retirement could fail…guess what…I invest otherwise so I don’t have to be completely dependent on it.  But wait…I was smart and started investing heavily when I was 22…now I will pay LOADS of tax on my investments which, at historical rates, will be into the 7 figure range by retirement….I get penalized for being smart, living within my means, and budgeting for my future.  That’s the main probem.  Take from the responsible to serve the dumbasses.   Not to mention my kids will only see a portion of this money, life insurance included, if I don’t massage my funds to other accounts prior to unexpected death. David…just because you are sitting on loads of cash during tough econimic times, doesn’t mean you are responsible for returing the economy to normal.  There are many of those “rich” people that made it there by being honest, loyal to their ventures, loyal to their employees, and loyal to their communities.  I hold a upper middle class job.  I don’t ask for a tax break.  Just leave me the F alone.  Make me pay what is fair.  Make the people… Read more »

@david…good call.  Those are precisely the type of things that need an early fix to a long term soloution.  Encourage investing citizens to create their own weath for long term viability.

Currently, many Americans, as well as politicians want a quick fix.  This damn thing wasn’t created overnight, it won’t be either.  It will cross over a handful of presidents, a handful of term limits, etc…however, every administration wants to put their touch on things.  Things that may have had a bright future, until the next guy feels that he can do better.  Nothing comes full circle, other than failure.

Ice Bandit

@Truth- you invest at 22- and withdraw after holding for 5 years- I say ZERO capital gains tax. You do it for a week- I say over 50% capital gains tax. (David Esrati)
Ok, everybody, it’s sing-along time. Fire up the old calliope, Mr. Music Man. Y’all know the words…
My name is Dave Esrati,
I’m known throughout the nation
As defender of and apologist
For all types of taxation.
The call me a class warrior,
but I just defend the poor,
I want to tax the wealthy till,
they ain’t wealthy no more.
My website has a link to something
called “Taxes are Good.”
I’d tax kids for money from the
Tooth Fairy if I could.
Then I’d tax those baby-sitters
and kids with lemonade stands,
the thought that no money would go
untaxed would be so grand.
I’d never tax at leisure,
when I’d could tax in haste,
though I admit that most of this
tax money goes to waste….

Bubba Jones
Bubba Jones

>>> @Truth- you invest at 22- and withdraw after holding for 5 years- I say ZERO capital gains tax. You do it for a week- I say over 50% capital gains tax. <<< – Esrati
David, instead of 50%, would you consider 35% or 39% “fair” for those fat cat day traders that are making all of these millions of dollars you’re concerned about?  Oh, wait a minute, that’s what they’re paying already since those types of gains are SHORT TERM CAPITAL GAINS which are taxed as “ordinary income” at whatever your top marginal bracket is based on total income.  The point is that these “investors” are already paying a penalty on their short term gains since long term capital gains are only taxed at 15%.  And, I’m pretty sure that if you make under a certain amount per year ($25,000??) that you don’t pay any tax on long term gains.  And the bitch of all of that is that you can only claim a max of $3000 per year in capital losses so if you lose your shirt one year, you’re screwed.  And, yes, this does affect “middle class folks” too.  My old next door neighbor was a former Ohio Bell employee whose retirement savings  was heavily invested in AT&T, Lucent and other assorted Bell related stocks.  When that industry hit the shitter his portfolio went to nothing almost overnight but he was limited to only recognizing $3k of losses per year and he still has “unused losses” that do him no good now since he’s on social security.

Since some feel that taxes are the solution….   Here are a few questions….   You use tax money to fund education programs…How do you convince the lazy citizens that are living off the system to take advantage of the opportunity to better themselves?  (Hell, we already have one of the most cost efficient junior colleges in the country)   You pay for all sorts of housing, food, etc. programs…How do you convince the person receiving them to go out and become self sufficient?   You want to create job programs with tax money…Make employees prove they are legal citizens…Then how do you force the “underprivileged” AKA: Lazy, to go work one of those new jobs that were created?   The root of the problem is the people, and the politicians that attempt to care for them.  We have set up a system nationally, state wide, and locally, that enables people to not take advantage of any opportunity because they don’t have to.  So…in order to lower crime (by hoping that people go to college and find real jobs), in order to educate our people (that never took advantage of their free DPS education anyway), in order to have an educated workforce (that may entice companies to move here because of an easy pool of workers/professionals)…all we want to do is throw money at them in hopes that it will FIX the problem   Start off with cuts to welfare and social service programs for those able bodied people.  Take that surplus of funds and create the programs you speak of that educate people and promote responsible adult behavior.  Make life a bit difficult for those that have had it easy ever since they miracled up some “disability”.  I would venture to say that over half of the system users, are able to provide for themselves, but they choose not to.  They choose to spit out their taxable benefit limit on kids, etc…because we have enabled them to.  Quit throwing money into programs that will never work.   These are things that need to change, or this area, this state,… Read more »

Start off with cuts to welfare and social service programs for those able bodied people.

I don’t think the social programs are a bulk of the city budget; lots of that gets paid for by federal and state programs.  Got any links to Dayton’s budget docs that backs up what you’re suggesting?  The problem with getting in to all this culture war stuff is that it is a distraction from the facts about Dayton, and solutions to problems we can solve. We can’t solve poverty (the poor will always be with us), but we can encourage our local government to get a bit smarter, a bit leaner, and get ourselves into a more competitive position.  To be credible at that though, it helps to have a firm grasp of the facts.


Waay up thread we had this on the size of the city gov:

A key problem in Dayton is that its services have not really shrank in proportion to the drop in population.

It seems intuitively correct, but I realized I don’t really have any data to back it up.  Just the correlation between declining population and budgetary troubles, has the city’s government / ops / maintenance burden actually increased?

From the 2005 Strategic Plan:

Dayton City government has been challenged by over three decades of manufacturing decline and
population loss. In response, it has reduced service personnel over 20% since 1998, made numerous
operating cuts, and postponed capital infrastructure and equipment replacements.

@jstults My post was in relation to taxes, not just Dayton specific, but region specific. Dayton is not going to bring themselves out of this mess alone.  It is going to take cooperation from the region.  County taxes that are levied against all people paying property tax in the county, effect Dayton more than anyone else for the simple fact they make up the majority of the county.  My questions were posed not to Dayton residents, but to those that feel like taxation is the way out.  Many of these programs and levies are traditionally supported by “pro-tax” individuals.  Unfortunately, the suburban voters are responsible as well.  The majority of them voted for these tax increases according to MCBOE.  This is where the government officials putting these measures on a ballot need to be more responsible.  It is easy to pass a levy when you sell it that it will only cost you $1.50 per 100k of house per month and put some sad looking face on a billboard at IR75/SR4 and US35/City Limits.  Unfortunately that $1.50 a month x 2 levies a year x 10 years compounds quite a bit.  While this may be a bit of a stretch, it adds up.  How do you think that adds up for a Dayton company that has a property worth a few million?  Off to Georgia or Mexico I go. This is the major problem with the thought that the feds and states pay for these.  Ohio has cut funding for social programs and education across the board.  Remember, they said they were going to cut taxes, which they did…that also resulted in cuts to programs.  This is speccifically why regions like Dayton, have to put social service levies and districts are putting up levies at an uncomfortable pace in order to make up for the losses.  Unfortunately, IMO, the leadership in the Dayton area regarding the management of these funds, isn’t the best.  A combo of that, and the fact that these levies are strictly funded from property tax, businesses want no part of Montgomery County…which involves Dayton.  Unfortunately, this forces Dayton… Read more »

I’m going to summarize now just to make myself clear before dropping out of this discussion.
Name one thing that government does right?  I’ll name several that government HAS done right–some of which it’s currently doing right, others of which have fallen in quality.
Military: check
Fire protection: check  (and public fire protection was created b/c private firms circa 1800 were a joke)
Public education: pre-1960 (public schools were implemented in the late 1800s b/c private schools were a joke)
Food safety: pre-Reagan (what would Teddy Roosevelt make of his fellow Repub slashing food inspectors?)
National Weather Service
I could go on…
What I would like to see is a simple, progressive income tax with no deductions.  You fall into a tax bracket, you pay that rate.  No deferring income or playing accounting tricks.
Moreover, I’d genuinely like to see businesses get relief from most of the complications.  For example, I think no business should be required to be involved in the tax systems of any community it isn’t physically located within.
Overall, I think the deep problem is that too many Americans have given up, decided that government is intrinsically evil, and that we’d be better off with anarchy.  Until people figure out how to elect their governments so that they can have faith again, I’m expecting to keep wanting to decry the ongoing decline.
And thanks for the nice word about community colleges (btw, we prefer “community” to “junior” thanks)–since I teach at one.

@truddick…some of your points are VERY debatable.   I would agree with you from a local standpoint from the most part.  Fire, police, and EMS services, pre-hospital care, etc…are pretty much second to none in the world.  However, many of the downfalls in those arenas that cost tax payers hefty amounts of money deal with unions and lobbyists that have interfered with standards, specifically in the fire service.  NFPA…the ones who set standards…are backed highly by one of the most self serving unions in the nation, the IAFF.   I am a supporter of public education and I have plenty of educators in my family.  But, I wouldn’t say that they have hit the nail on the head and can be considered something they do well.  Just as the fire service, we do these things better than most of the programs that the government is responsible for, but they are a far cry from being well run.  I guess we can point the finger on the NEA.  But the education union is as bad as the UAW.  I don’t think that a government program is well run when you have teachers sitting in open rooms playing cards because they don’t want them in the classroom.  That is a problem.   I definitely agree with you that it is time for the voters to wake up.  The decline in the quality of government run programs, such as the ones you mention, is due to the poor leadership and the amount of outside pressure on these politicians and the way they are financed.   For every program that you have mentioned, there are probably 10 that are run poorly, or have so much self interest in them they aren’t looking out for the good of the order.  There is more negative outcomes due to the abysmal social security system, than many others.  That list can go on and on as well.   The typical democrat way of life is to put a value on citizens worth and output, place them into a “bracket”, and take as they please.  What is your problem… Read more »
Truddick,   That is a really funny show…Community.  You don’t teach Spanish do you? How have you determined that those have been successful? Military – Check?  What?  2010 budget (including overseas contingency options) 663.8 Billion dollars.  This does not include Veterans Administration.  This is just the cost of keeping the military deployed and fighting for one year.  Are you kidding me?  What strategic objective are we achieving for our money?  Keeping poppy fields free of “criminals” for the Karzai drug ring?  Oh wait, we are funding Ahmed Wali Karzai through the CIA, another organization which is not accounted for in the 663.8 Billion!  He must not be a bad guy…we never do that… Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Iran Contra…need I go on?!?! Fire protection?  The ten year average acreage destruction of fires in the US is almost 900,000 acres.  It has been as high as 2.4 million acres in a year (2006).  There are only 2.6 Billion acres in the US.  That means that in one year…one in a thousand acres burnt!?!?  How are you measuring success?  That seems reasonable? Public education?  I am going to accept your concession (pre-1960) and move on.  I will only post a few links to a few statistics that point out just how bad our “free” (2nd most expensive, per student, on Earth) education system has become. or Food safety?  Are you serious?…you have to be kidding me… We still pay for food inspectors to stand and visually check chickens (you can’t see bacteria)…at taxpayer expense…when radiating the chickens would kill the bacteria for a fraction of the cost.  We also have……happening.  We are outlawing certain restaurants?  We are outlawing certain types of fats?  We are now talking about regulating amounts of salt allowable in foods? NASA!!!! NASA!!!!  We have spent 416 Billion dollars on NASA.  What is the goal?  From their website NASA’s Mission is:  To improve life here; to extend life to there; to find life beyond.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  WE SPENT $416,000,000,000!!!!  What have we achieved? National Weather Service?  People wouldn’t want to know when tornadoes and hurricanes are coming?  They wouldn’t… Read more »

More on the size of city gov:

City                     | Local gov % of employment
Dayton                | 25.73
Indianapolis       | 17.91
Milwaukee         | not one of the top ten
Louisville          | 7.30
Oklahoma City | 17.11
Kansas City       | 17.47
Omaha                | 12.35
St. Louis            | 5.23
Cincinnati        | 4.17
Lexington        | 6.78
Cedar Rapids  | 13.20
Downtown Economic Development Analysis

So, even though there’s been cuts recently, based on the comparison to ‘peer cities’ there’s probably still some room to trim that 73%.