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Suttle’s Tax Hikes Get Mixed Review From Council

By   /   July 21, 2010  /   2 Comments

The reaction of the Omaha City Council to Mayor Jim Suttle’s tax rich budget is going as expected. It’s a mixed bag and the Mayor has some convincing to do.

Southwest Omaha Council member Jean Stothert tells Nebraska Watchdog, “A tax and spend budget is unacceptable.”

North Omaha Councilman Ben Gray who told Nebraska Watchdog just last week that property taxes “better” go up appears to be the Mayor’s earliest ally when it comes to raising taxes. Suttle’s budget hits taxpayers from three sides:

  • Wheel Tax Up 65%…from $35 to $58 per car. Raises $8.5 million.
  • Restaurant Tax 4%…on food and drink. Raises $23.5 million.
  • Property Tax Up 9.3%….on average $60 a year. Raises $12 million.

 

Following the Mayor’s 2011 budget address on Tuesday his Finance Director, Pam Spacarotella, told Nebraska Watchdog that if the Mayor’s $44 million in higher taxes are not okayed by the Council basic city services will be on the chopping block. “We say we want to do more with less, but we’re now getting to the point where we’re doing less with less.”

But Stothert isn’t convinced, wondering what the Mayor is thinking. As Stothert puts it, “Eleven per cent increase in spending? $20.5 million in wage adjustment account (salary increases and wage contributions)?

Councilman Pete Festersen wants to dig deeper into Suttle’s budget, “I think we need to consider cuts and not just tax increases.”

The wild card on the Council could be Republican Thomas Mulligan. Mulligan, who will be voting on his first budget, has indicated to Nebraska Watchdog that some tax hikes might be necessary.

Editor’s note: to subscribe free of charge to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog click here

Editor’s note: to see Nebraska Watchdog’s initial analysis of the Mayor’s 2011 budget click here.

Editor’s note: to see the Mayor’s 2011 budget click here.

Reported by Joe Jordan, joe@nebraskawatchdog.org

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  • Jim J. Enright

    Basic problem: Suttle is another liberal, tax and spend Democrat. Instead of across the board small cuts, he threatens to cut popular programs entirely, such as shutting down libraries and pools, and not cutting park grass for weeks.This is an old tax and spender, bureaucratic fear tactic..

    Once at Union Pacific, they cut 30% of the jobs in three years. People thought the railroad would grind to a halt, but instead, record profits were made all three years. Suttle hasn’t even scratched the surface of the waste and bureaucratic make work and empire building that abounds in all governments and even, to a lesser extent, in many large businesses.,

  • Texas Annie

    30% of the workforce cut in three years ‘ya say, Jim? That’s incredible and unbelievable! Seems like that would have affected the tax-crediting scheme created to keep UP headquarters there back in the mid-90’s. You know, claims of “job creation” and all.

    Don’t ‘cha think that maybe, just maybe, Omaha is in the tank because of all the corporate welfare and tax-increment financing that your predominantly Republican government shills for? Or perhaps it’s that convention center which was “guaranteed” not to raise property taxes back when the Republican Mayor held the reins…

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m no apologist for the Democrats. They’re at least as bad as the Republicans! But your idea that thrift and elimination of waste will fix the mess you’re in is only a tired cliche’.

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