We have been at the mercy of a Mayor who claimed he had changed, he did not. We listened to President Bush (1) proclaim, "Read my lips, no new taxes!" Now we have a Mayoral candidate with a history of raising taxes who proclaims he has changed, Mr. Wilkowski adamantly professes that he will not raise taxes if he is elected Mayor; however, does his past performance preclude his present position on taxes? Will he do as he says or do as he did? With the broad promises he is making to the community and the poor condition of the economy of Toledo, it is impossible for this economy to sustain his promises. Here is his response to this concern:
WGTE Candidate Forum 2009, 10/23/09.
Question to Mr. Wilkowski by Mr. Lessenberry:
“You have adamantly opposed raising taxes in your campaign although nearly 20 years ago when you were a county commissioner you talked as if raising taxes was a good idea and that sometimes that elected officials should have great discretion to do what they want to with tax money, were you wrong then and right now or have conditions changed.”
“Well, I think that the circumstances are just totally different, I’ve watched what’s happened to our community over the course of my lifetime and over that period of time, we’ve seen a city that was nearly 400,000 people become a city that is maybe 300,000 people. Our problem is not that our people don’t pay enough taxes, our problem is that we don’t have enough people and so that the job of the Mayor, and the reason that I believe raising taxes in this environment would be just absolutely the wrong thing to do is that we are going to drive people out and make our budget deficit worse. In addition to that, people just cannot afford a tax increase, and finally what it does, it prevents us from working on new ideas and new ways to do things. We need to combine and consolidate services both within the city and across jurisdictional lines, we need to make better use of technology, we need to focus on jobs, because those are the solutions to our problems, not a tax increase.”
1. At what point did Mr. Wilkowski decide how much taxes are enough for us to pay? What is his basis for that decision?
He definitely did not believe so when he advocated for a property tax increase for the school system in the late 1980’s while on the school board; and he did not believe so when he insisted on the need to raise the sales tax.
2. There was no answer to the second point of the question: “elected officials should have great discretion to do what they want to with tax money”. What type of discretion should we allow elected officials?
Rather than answer this, we received canned replies on growing the economy.