Why the sales tax hike isn’t the answer

taxes graphicI’m one of the people stirred up about the sales tax hike. I’ve already known for years that if I do my shopping in Greene county, I can save .5% on sales tax that funds the RTA- a Montgomery County Service that actually goes to Greene county on my dime (WSU and the Greene).

I was also the lone voice against giving Sinclair a second tax levy- a school which taxes Montgomery County to death, yet provides services in Greene, Preble and Warren Counties- all without them paying a lick of taxes.

And when it comes to economic development in the last 30 years, I look at the whole Fairfield Mall area- which was part cow pasture when I came to Wright State, I look at the Greene, which was forest, and I look at Cornerstone of whatever they call it- where Costco and others are- and I realize that all three are as close to Montgomery County as possible but NOT IN IT- I see the effects of our incompetent county leadership.

So when Debbie Lieberman says something stupid like:

“All the people out there getting petitions and getting stirred up over $36 a year, they definitely have a right to do that, but it’s very disappointing,” said Debbie Lieberman, Montgomery County Commission president. “We are getting cut by the state – our state Legislature and our governor.”

In June, the three Democrats on the county commission passed a 0.25 percent sales tax increase that works out to about $36 a year for every man, woman and child in Montgomery County….

If the tax increase is derailed, Lieberman said the county will be forced to scuttle a number of programs focused on the arts, economic development and criminal justice. The money is also earmarked for planned upgrades to the Montgomery County Jail, the focus of nearly a dozen civil rights lawsuits costing the county more than $1 million in recent years.

“If that (tax increase repeal) happens, every office in the county will be slashed. It could mean jobs, ” she said. “It certainly will not include the new officers we were going to provide the sheriff and all the programs to make the jail safer for our employees and inmates. All off that is off the table. It just can’t happen. There’s no way.”

Source: Deadline looms for tax-hike foes – Dayton Daily News

Let’s see, when the jail started having issue after issue, did you step in and remove the leadership that was costing us millions in settlements and allowing our citizens to get death sentences for just being there? Nope.

When I look at the Salem Mall and Hara Arena, I see that you were totally inept at managing and maintaining the resources we had in Montgomery County. You, who live in Clayton, one of the newest unnecessary fiefdoms of uselessness in Montgomery County.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Debbie Lieberman, and I think that Doug Barry, who has self-appointed himself leader of the anti-sales tax hike movement,  is totally unfit for office (he’s running for Dan Foley’s seat on the County Commission. However, this sales tax increase isn’t the answer for the county and here’s why: it will continue down the road of placing the burden of government on the those the least able to pay, it’s a regressive tax pure and simple, in other words, those with the least will be hit as a percentage of their income the most.

Now, why is Doug Barry just as criminal? Austin Landing. The only place in Ohio that I know of where a two tiered income tax system is in existence and he, as a Miami Township Trustee is fine with that. Through a JEDD (a Joint Economic Development District) Miami Township, which is banned from collecting an income tax- manages to share in an illegal income tax that is only levied on the little people- those who work in retail jobs at the development. People like State Rep Jim Butler, who works in a “tall office building” get exempted from the 2% income tax. This is the most unfair tax in existence and Barry, has never said a thing against it.

The problems in Montgomery County will never be solved with more taxes, what will solve them is the elimination of insane duplication and the reduction of the number of governments. I’ve started a 501(c)(4) non-profit, Reconstructing Dayton, to study and clarify the wastes in Montgomery County that need to be eliminated. Something our County Government seems incapable of addressing.

Case in point- the number of municipal courts, their inadequate websites that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and still don’t allow online filing of cases.

And while Debbie lives in Clayton- a totally unnecessary micro-government, with its own slew of overpaid bureaucrats, my favorite waste of a community is Moraine, where 6000 people pay $25 per person, per year, just to have a City Manager who is paid $145,000 a year. Do they really need their own police department? We’re working on building a visual dashboard of this kind of data– so that voters can see how much of their tax burden is for pompous politicians seat at the taxpayer financed feeding trough.

Why Moraine isn’t forced to join Kettering which already runs their schools is a mystery- about as big as why we need a sales tax increase right before the feds have mandated that all online retailers start charging sales taxes which should bring a windfall to the county.

Maybe we really don’t need a Pre-school Promise with its unregulated additional school board that spends a huge amount on advertising- and we should just start sending little kids books each month? The Dolly Parton Imagination Learning Library has proven to increase reading scores- the “Preschool Promise” hasn’t even managed to significantly  increase enrollment in a program where your tax dollars are funneled back to private businesses running sub-standard day cares now calling themselves pre-schools.

It’s funny, when circulating the petition I’ve only had three people say no to signing to put this on the ballot. One was a former arts administrator, who sucked at the teat of tax financed support of the arts, and two lawyers, who receive subsidized day care for their kids- and are big supporters of a co-op grocery for the “poor people of West Dayton” who will be most impacted by this regressive tax. The county has said if this tax increase on all goes down, they won’t have any money to support this single grocery store.

How about we just eliminate any city under 50,000 in population, and force all urban townships illegal, and eliminate all township government entirely, forcing low population density areas to use county services only- as a starting point?

The amount of money to fund all Debbie’s dreams would be available, and the number of micro-governments like Doug Barry’s Miami Township would disappear.

You can sign the petition at my office from 9-6 today and tomorrow – 100 Bonner St Dayton Ohio, it’s also available at Routsong Funeral Home in Centerville or Strehle’s Dry Cleaning of Kettering and I’m sure a few other businesses.

It’s time for the governments of Montgomery County to have to learn to live within their budgets just like the rest of us have for the last 10 years.

First Montgomery County countywide citizen initiated referendum in the works

Reliable sources have informed Esrati.com that former Republican Party chairmen, Greg Gantt and Rob Scott are working together to write a referendum and collect the necessary 14,583 voter signatures to put the recently approved sales tax increase to the test on the November ballot.

The .25% sales tax increase was rushed through the county commission in a closely choreographed series of hearings where everyone and their mother who sucks at the county teat, got up and spoke in support of raising the sales tax.

The County Clerk of Courts Russ Joseph said we need it. He didn’t bother to mention that the stupid system of multiple municipal courts with their own clerks, staff and websites is a giant waste of money in Montgomery County– nor did he suggest ways to streamline government and save money.

The people from the “PreSchool Promise” came out in support also. An organization with ZERO public oversight, huge ad budgets, that exists to give public tax dollars to private companies running glorified day cares in many cases.

The list goes on.

The task of getting that many valid signatures stops most referendums on issues like this, as does the difficulty of writing acceptable ballot language. This is why we have so much overlap and duplication in government in Montgomery County.

Once the language is approved, petitions have to be circulated and then turned in at least 90 days before the November 6, 2018 election.

The tax increase is currently scheduled to go into effect on Oct. 1, 2018. No word on if the petitions are submitted that the hike would be delayed. The cost to retailers of having to implement the new rate should be considered by the County- and they should delay their action until after the issue has been decided once the petitions are approved.

This country was founded because of taxation without representation. To put this tax hike to the voters is the correct action.

Final sales tax public hearing today 1:30 pm

For the second time in a week, the Dayton Day-Old News selectively quoted me at the first sales tax hearing. All they managed to get out of my presentation was that the sales tax was regressive, hurting those with the smallest incomes the most.

What they left out was the majority of my speech- where I pointed out that Montgomery County has WAY too many governments- all adding to overhead. Watch the video:

For those of you who would rather read- here’s the text:

A sales tax increase hurts the working poor much more than any other tax you could impose. They don’t have the option of leaving the county to save, or to order online from retailers that don’t charge tax. It takes up a larger percentage of their disposable income, since other than food, rent and energy, this tax applies.

Montgomery County is already one of the highest taxed counties in the state by the time we finish paying for Health and Human Services’ two levies, Sinclair’s two levies,  Metroparks levy, the Library Levy, school levies, and anything else- like a street light assessment in Dayton.

When you look at the cost to business to try to keep up with the different income tax rates for all 28 jurisdictions in this county- you can call that a tax as well. The overhead of having too many chiefs for a declining number of Indians.

In the meantime- Warren County- is the fastest growing county. Their taxes are lower. And, they even get a Sinclair campus with no tax levy. Go figure.

But, the real tax that nobody wants to talk about is the politician tax. We have way too many politicians in Montgomery County. That’s because we allow almost anybody with a back 40 to become a city. The City of Moraine. 6000 people. And they have to pay for a mayor and commission, and a city manager- for $145,000.

That works out to $25 per person per year to pay for a guy who’s job it is to do exactly the same thing the County Administrator does.

The list goes on. Why does Jefferson Township have a school district, with a superintendent and a treasurer when all their students total 315? If we used that formula for Dayton, we’d have 41 superintendents.

And for another example, why do we have a Vandalia, Miamisburg, Kettering, Oakwood, Dayton and county municipal courts- with a website for each- none of which allows basic online filing? Hint, Franklin County has just one site- and one municipal court system.

No, raising taxes isn’t the answer anymore. It makes us uncompetitive.

Just like all of little fiefdoms add to our overhead – and don’t add much back.

With every less police chief- we could have two or more sheriff’s deputies on the streets.

With every less “City Manager” we could have more money for paving and sweeping streets.

With every less Court website we might have a single one that actually works.

If you are to be leaders, you need to come up with a better answer than just hiking another tax.

It’s time to hike some of these banana republics out of business- and have logical rational leadership with lower overhead and better management skills.

At ReconstructingDayton.org we’ve begun working on the data sets and metrics to show Montgomery County Voters how much all of you politicians are costing them. Not only in pay per person they rule, but in how much payola per elected official it takes to get elected in Montgomery county so you can continue to raise our taxes to pay for all of you.

When voters see how much all these fiefdoms cost, maybe they will wake up and it will be time to slim down our governments instead of our wallets.

Thank you.

In between last week and this week, the supreme court issued a mandate for all online retailers to have to collect sales tax, regardless of if they have a presence in the state. And while some say “Amazon already does this”- it’s not entirely true- since Amazon also manages some sales for other retailers, who don’t have to charge sales tax- this will make ALL orders subject to the tax.

Maybe the Commissioners should consider their new windfall, and delay this tax. I’ve already heard there are people ready to gather 15,ooo signatures to put this vote on the November ballot. I’ll be helping them.

It’s time to bring some sanity to our tax structures in Montgomery County- watch this page on Reconstructing Dayton for more data on the breakdowns of cost per person for our elected officials, etc.  BTW- thanks to those of you who donated to help our cause last week. We’re a 501(c)(4) non-profit so you can donate, support a cause, and not have your name reported (just like the national PACs do it).

To say that YouthWorks, Pre-school promise (which is only in Kettering and Dayton right now) and the corporate welfare ED/GE program are critical to a functioning county government is an insult to the taxpayers, who have also been told that two Sinclair levies, two Health and Human Services levies, a Metroparks levy and a Library levy are also critical.

In today’s paper they even mentioned supporting the arts. How will the 25% of Montgomery County residents who are living in poverty, supposed to afford a ticket to the philharmonic before you increase the sales tax?

I can’t be there to speak today (I’ll be in court trying to get justice for a Service Disabled Veteran), so I’ll be sending a proxy.

If you want to go, it’s on the 10th floor of the County Administration building, 451 W. 3rd St. Dayton. Enter the parking garage from 2nd Street, and ask for your parking to be validated by the county commission. They shouldn’t be able to charge parking for a meeting. Festivities start at 1:30/

 

Maybe the county commission should wait on hiking your sales tax

The State of Ohio and Counties like ours, are about to see the biggest windfall in ages thanks to today’s Supreme Court ruling that says online retailers can’t dodge collections in States where they have no physical presence:

Internet retailers can be required to collect sales taxes in states where they have no physical presence, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday (today).

Brick-and-mortar businesses have long complained that they are disadvantaged by having to charge sales taxes while many of their online competitors do not. States have said that they are missing out on tens of billions of dollars in annual revenue under a 1992 Supreme Court ruling that helped spur the rise of internet shopping.

On Thursday, the court overruled that ruling, Quill Corporation v. North Dakota, which had said that the Constitution bars states from requiring businesses to collect sales taxes unless they have a substantial connection to the state.

Source: Supreme Court Clears Way to Collect Sales Tax From Online Retailers – The New York Times

If the Montgomery County Commission still chooses to hike your sales tax, they should all be removed from office. The implications of this ruling will be gargantuan.

It will also be good news for local ricks and mortar retailers and independent stores who have built the cost of product shipping into their pricing already, and now don’t have to compete with “free shipping” and “no sales tax” for online retailers.

Tax more or spend less? Introducing Reconstructing Dayton

Reconstructing Dayton logoI’ve mentioned Reconstructing Dayton a few times before on this site. As of this writing, it has exactly 4 posts.

That will probably change now. Today, at the County meeting at 6pm to discuss the .25% sales tax increase, we’ll have a frank talk about the absurdity of all these local banana republics masquerading as cities, villages, townships- and sucking money out of all of our pockets for no good reason.

We have too many governments in Montgomery County. We have too many City Managers, economic development directors, police chiefs, municipal courts, street maintenance supervisors, you name it. And I’m not even going near the multitude of school districts, school boards and the mysterious Montgomery County Educational Service Center.

On top of that- we have tax levies coming out the wazoo. Two levies each for Human Services and Sinclair. Metroparks, the Library, local schools, it all adds up to paying for bureaucrats in triplicate.

If you’ve wondered why there hasn’t been much on Esrati.com for the last two weeks, it’s because we’ve been working away on www.reconstructingdayton.org where we’re working on identifying the costs and overhead caused by bureaucratic bloat. We’ve got someone working 20 hours a week, gathering data, tax rates, names of those in power, copies of contracts, annual billing statements, population of each subdivision- and working on creating a datamap of how much this insanity is costing us, the overtaxed minions of Montgomery County.

It’s set up as a 501(c)(4) so we can run informational ads at election time, telling voters which politicians actually will give support to working on ways to reduce the redundancy and cut costs- so a sales tax increase won’t be necessary. Because, if you understand the nature of sales tax- it’s a regressive tax that costs those with the least disposable income, the greatest percentage of their paycheck.

What would make more sense? A whole bunch of things. A flat income tax for all of Montgomery County, no matter where you live- township, city, village or under a bridge. Then, dole it out to each real jurisdiction, based on efficiency of delivering services. Take your payroll, divide it by people per square mile- or some such formula. Businesses wouldn’t have to spend a fortune trying to track payroll deductions- and employees wouldn’t be penalized for living in Brookville and working in Dayton (currently, they are paying 3.5% income tax- because Dayton raised theirs last year to 2.5% and Brookville stopped forgiving it all- and said you’ll pay 1% no matter where you work).

My first suggestion is to force Moraine to merge with someone. Anyone. Kettering should be their logical partner since their schools are merged. Jefferson Township schools- should become part of Valleyview or Dayton- or Trotwood, take your pick (if you’re smart- Valleyview), 340 students does not a district make.

In the meantime- pulling all this data together, building the databases and entering the data, will cost money. If you’re sick of taxes going up and government delivering less. Or if the battle of tax breaks to lure businesses from one municipality to another is leaving you as the last man standing with a tax bill (because you’re not GE), we’re here for you. Please consider making a donation to Reconstructing Dayton. Every little bit helps. We’ll also be looking for volunteers to help with data entry sprints and research. So please go and sign up for updates.

How many municipal courts and websites do we need?