Wednesday, November 17, 2010

When is it Over?

I'm lucky to live in a state where budgets have to be balanced every year - state, and local. What? What? That means that either services have to be cut or taxes have to be raised. This past year, both have happened in the Omaha metro. Full disclosure - I no longer live in the city, so many things don't actually impact me. Certain things, I honestly admit, I do not notice. I benefit from having a company car (yes, I can hear you telling me how much I suck). I am very thankful for this benefit, trust me. As a result, I don't pay to license my car, and when the county increased the wheel tax, I went, eh.   And when the city decided that they had to change their snow removal schedule to save some money - I thought, no big deal - I PAY for my snow removal every month, and many other things in my HOA dues. The city also decided to implement a tax for people that work in the city, but don't live there (Hi Council Bluffs commuters!). When I lived in Lansing they had something like this too, but I didn't actually work in the city - I found that I when I tried to sign up to pay this tax and payroll shot that idea down.

So what will impact me???  This thing called a "restaurant tax." I eat out a couple times a week.  And I'm okay with paying it, because it's 2.5%. I figure it's like a local option sales tax, which I grew up with.  Many people aren't happy with all of these changes - I'm not sure what exactly they'd like the solution to be other than no restaurant tax.  No snow removal?  Don't fix the potholes that were awful this year? Eliminate Fire and Rescue all together?   And therein is where the rub has happened of sorts - the current mayor inherited some problems that started before I even moved here, a little thing known as "pension spiking." Will it effect some people's dining out? Perhaps, but as a single person with no kids, the 20 extra cents that I was charged on my lunch today had no major consequence on me - I'm more likely to eat out less to save $8.67 not 20 cents.   It's tacked on after at the total, and before the sales tax. Typically, I see it listed as "occupancy tax" or "restaurant tax."  This made me chuckle. Here's what my receipt looked like from Brewburgers (Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and I agree - great place!!!)  "Mayor Fee"
There's a group that's working to recall the mayor, which is well within their rights. By Friday they have to gather 27,000 signatures, so they set up places to sign in parking lots, wave signs, use bullhorns, etc.  They aren't happy about all the spending, so they want the city to spend $900,000 on a special election to recall the mayor so that he could get kicked out shortly before his term is up. Yeah, I'm confused by that too, but it's a free country, do what you want. Doing all that wouldn't result in any MORE taxes ore services being cut by my logical thought process. W

My favorite part of this story just happened over the weekend. Since many of the people that have been hired to work for this "campaign" aren't from Omaha - they apparently don't know what they mayor looks like.  Yes, they did indeed ask the mayor to sign the petition to recall himself. He declined.

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