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Help solve the problem already

The reaction of some Marion City Council members to Mayor Jess Alumbaugh saying the city needs more revenue to function is at best an overreaction.

First, and most important, we think Alumbaugh is right and that he is trying to deal with the world as it is and not as we would like it to be.

Noting that, however, it can surely be frustrating to listen to Alumbaugh quote the city’s costly financial advisors from Indianapolis, Umbaugh & Associates, about the need for taxes to go up because property tax caps are keeping that one type of local tax under control.

Are they saying it would be better to remove caps and raise property taxes even higher instead of local income taxes? Why? Are property owners, many of whom are on fixed incomes, guilty of something that makes them a better target for large tax increases than other citizens?

There are health insurance issues ahead for the city government to be sure. But Council Member Steve Henderson is right. The city’s big spending problem is debt, much of it caused by wasteful and corrupt economic development projects of the previous administration and their cronies. The commitments to the bond holders of that debt, however, are legal and we should not choose to default on them to keep the health insurance for employees afloat.

More revenue is needed and the city can’t print dollars or issue Bitcoins, (thank goodness). That will mean raising taxes.

Grant County is also facing a budget problem. However, the county still appears open to budget cutting. As we have argued before, one area we think should be explored for cutting is the Economic Growth Council in Grant County.

This nonprofit was on the scene if not a leader in the economic development disasters of the past decade that our grandkids will still be paying for decades from now. Taxpayers in Grant County are still funding the Growth Council. In 2018, through local income taxes, the Council will receive $333,237. According to IRS form 990 from 2016, the last publicly available, the Growth Council had $1.13 million in total revenue that year, with more than $639,000 arising from its own investment income.

Alumbaugh says he is focusing on improving the city’s quality of life rather than providing incentives to lower-wage employers to locate in the city. Given our situation in both the county and Marion, we think firefighters and deputies would be a better investment than the Growth Council right now.

But the cry by some council members against raising taxes, especially by those who were around to approve every costly scheme cooked up by the Seybold administration, is political dishonesty and not very clever at that.

They just want to look better than the current mayor come 2019. The people in our city deserve better and know better.