Unfortunately everyone is trying to play politics with this one. Mayor Marty is all over the media claiming that he's "glad the council voted for my tax cut [emphasis added]. Unfortunately, they missed the point. I want to give a tax cut to Albuquerque families immediately. I don't want the City Council to suck out another $9 million from taxpayers" (ABQ Journal - Subscription Required).
Meanwhile the majority of the council is busy trying to have it both ways (voting for a deferred tax cut while giving $9,000,000 to the county) or trying to save face by being able to claim that they at least voted for a tax cut.
At this point it's all rhetoric. Council President O'Malley came out early and linked the tax cut directly to keeping the 1/8 cent gross receipts tax through July 1, 2008 and fell right into Marty's trap.
You may have heard by now that The Almighty One has shall we say, higher ambitions. Yep, the mayor wants to run again for governor. This tax cut move has been rightly characterized by some of our Eyes as a ploy to make him look like a fiscal conservative. We were suspicious of the move from the very beginning. Since Marty took over, the city has out spent inflation by some $125 MILLION (ABQ Journal - Subscription Required).
(Sidebar)Right now, the mayor is winning the spin war. He's characterized the council as a bunch of fiscal oafs that want to send $9,000,000 to the county - no strings attached, while the valiant Marty battles to give you back your hard earned cash. Meanwhile his arch rival in the last mayoral election, Brad Winter is being attacked on the radio by a group calling itself the Committee for Responsible Budgets for not cutting taxes (which he did... just not January 1, when the mayor originally proposed).
Remember this is the same Marty who wants to dump $240 MILLION into a 19th century streetcar benefiting a few hundred people along Central. Coincidently, that's about the same amount (ABQ Journal - Subscription Required) that it would take to fix the Paseo Del Norte/I-25 interchange that services tens of thousands of vehicles daily. But we digress...
The result is that the mayor will almost certainly look like the good guy no matter what happens Monday night. The only way that we see for the council to turn the table is for them to readdress the tax cut, moving the effective date to January 1, 2008 and then make the $9,000,000 contribution contingent upon excess city revenue that will hopefully be generated by the tax cut.
We really don't believe that the county should be hitting the city up for cash when their budget is light. After all, city residents are still paying for the jail through an increase in county taxes that was equivalent to a decrease in city taxes. In fact, the county should be taking in more revenue than the city for jail operation due to the increase in tax base.
This budget is not all bad. In fact, Councilor Cadigan shot us an email to point out that there's a 3% pay increase included in this budget for police officers. We just believe that our priorities need to be Police, Fire, Infrastructure, Administrative, Amenities. The Chavez administration has spent an inordinate amount of time and our money building amenities that continue to place an ever increasing burden on the city budget and our wallets.