To the editor:
Here is a history refresher for you. In 1776, the thinking was "no taxation without representation." Then, there was the battle cry for "Independence" Confederation didn't quite work. So, in order to form a more perfect union they wrote a Constitution and added a Bill of Rights.
Fast forward to the 2013 Mayoral race in Cape Coral. Incumbent, John Sullivan preaches the "No New Taxes" commandment! He prophetizes that this public "policy" will lead this city to continue the greatness of the past. Here is his reasoning. "No New Taxes" will help the poor in the city put "food on the table." Remember, when he first ran (2008), he told us about the fat cats at city hall who were "eating steak, while the taxpayers were eating"?cat food. This campaign rhetoric worked the first time, so why not embellish it. But wait, there is more. If you will act now, John will double his offer of greatness and convince you that "No New Taxes" will bring a sheet flow of businesses to the city.
Let's add a sprinkle of critical thinking to the "Sullivan Doctrine." If you are a "poor person" who cannot put food on the table, you probably cannot get a mortgage or buy a house. So, renters do not pay property taxes in the Cape. The landlord is responsible for the taxes. With the distressed housing market and foreclosures, low rents are becoming a magnet to attract poor people to the Cape. Poor people do not bring much money to spend in the Cape and often times need government help, through social programs, paid for by taxes, to survive. Mr. Sullivan does not offer any city tax dollars to help feed the poor, but admires the churches and pantries that he tells us are overwhelmed by this reality.
So who does benefit by the "No New Tax" public policy? As John is fond of saying, "This is not rocket science." If a home is "assessed" by the county at a half a million dollars and there are "No New Taxes" for them, they can literally save thousands of dollars in taxes every year. And these taxpayers vote, don't they, John? Help the poor by protecting the rich?
As for the tidal wave of "business" that will come here for John's "No New Tax" mantra, that is doubtful. Taxes are one variable in a business plan. But so is location, available resources, the right workforce, infrastructure (like water utilities), a customer threshold and most important, the projected profit margin to cover a return on the investment. Any business will pay higher taxes if, in return, it gets higher profits!
"No New Taxes" is warm and fuzzy, but it is a flawed fantasy and does not stand up to even a minimal amount of critical thinking. It does, however, reflect the thinking of Mr. Sullivan and his dysfunctional, destructive and most of all divisive public behavior for the city the last four years.
In 2010, the Mayor campaigned for his cronies with his "No Incumbents" signs. This may be a first, but the Mayor is correct this time as it applies to the mayoral race!