Apparently my suggestion about a zero percent tax increase has generated a lot of questions, and at the All Candidate Debate last night hosted by the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce, they were brought forward. I applaud Councillor O'Neill for suggesting if it's 0%, it's not an increase, but semantics aside, don't we as taxpayers in all cities deserve to pay the lowest possible amount for our services while ensuring sufficient planning for our future.
It's easy to brush off the suggestion as impossible or ideological, but really it's just managing our money properly - here's how......
At the end of 2013, we had $200 million in the bank, with no restrictions on how it could be spent. We had another $100 million that was set aside for future planning & needs. We earned 1.5% on that money, not a great return, but I digress;
We also had loans of $34 million with payments due in 2014 of $9 million PLUS interest at up to 7.3%. The $9+ million represents triple the amount needed to give tax payers a 0% property tax increase.
Let's put this in perspective for your house, if you owed $200,000 on your home and you had $1,000,000 CASH IN THE BANK, earning you 1.5% interest, but you were paying 7% on the mortgage, would you not pay out the mortgage and save all that interest? Financial Advisors and Planners will tell you "pay yourself first", so why would you pay the bank?
Cities are incredibly complex with many needs, shouldn't we take the basic steps to manage our money in a way that enables us to address those needs instead of lining the pockets of the bank?
Let's keep your money in your pocket - you know how best to spend it to take care of your family.