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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 07:51 AM

When Tax Revenues Fall Short, Who Gets Paid?

Almost two years, in The Price of Insufficient Tax Revenue, I described how the “success” of tax reduction in New Jersey compelled the city of Camden to lay off half of its police force and one-third of its fire fighters. A few weeks later, in When Tax Cuts Cause Privatization, Taxpayers Pay More, Not Less, I explained how Camden also was compelled to fire its animal-control officers, with their jobs turned over to a private company, at a cost exceeding what it cost to employ the animal-control officers. It’s easy to identify the winners and losers in this tax-cut game.

Now comes news that another city in fiscal trouble, Oakland, California, dealt with the impact of revenue reductions by laying off one-fourth of its police force. Oakland ranks fifth among American cities when it comes to crime rates. Discharging 25 percent of the police force is a foolish thing to do. Oakland police have confessed that someone calling 911 is “looking at an indeterminate amount of time before an officer can respond.” Crime rates in Oakland have soared since the cuts took effect.

Oakland, facing a $32 million deficit, did not touch a $17.3 million payment that it makes to the Oakland Raiders and the Oakland Athletics. The Raiders, however, are not content with these payments. Instead, the team threatens to move to Santa Clara unless Oakland forks over support for a $1.5 billion stadium.

Oakland is not the only city that chose private professional sports over police protection for its citizens. Jacksonville fired police and cut other services so that it could repeatedly reduce the rent that it charges the Jaguars for use of the stadium partially funded by taxpayer dollars. Taxpayer dollars support professional sports teams throughout the country. Most of those teams are owned by billionaires.


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Reply When Tax Revenues Fall Short, Who Gets Paid? (Original post)
Sam1 Dec 2012 OP
reteachinwi Dec 2012 #1
Igel Dec 2012 #2

Response to Sam1 (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 08:38 AM

1. panem et circenses


… Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses[6]. Juvenal

We've seen this story before. Who needs a repulic when an empire will do?

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Response to Sam1 (Original post)

Mon Dec 31, 2012, 01:42 PM

2. "Who" is the last step, the symptom.

Better to ask "Why?"

So, let's ask why.

Answer: Politics and laws.

It's not the private sports complex that's the problem. It wasn't imposed on the city. Nobody showed up with forged signatures that SCOTUS said were valid. It was voted on by the people that the citizens elected. They may have been corrupt. But what was done about their corruption, if so?

The additional amount demanded? Turn them down and let the city officials take the heat for their foolishness. Seemed like a good bit of politics, probably. But if the elected officials can't be grown ups and be clear-eyed about likely prospects for the future, they need to be tossed and lesser fools elected.

Or the politicians can accept the demand for the additional amount and comply with it. Then they can take the heat for their idiocy. But it's hard to blame the non-idiots involved when the idiots are front and center and drooling. Unless there's some reason for not blaming the guilty. Diminished capacity? Some other factor that shields them from actual blame?

Then there's the business with contracts. Some really can't be broken easily and quickly. Others can be. When you're forced to make a choice because of a sudden problem--even if it was predictable months and months in advance (we have to accept that the results of foolish actions are still results to be dealt with)--you make the choice from those available. You don't whine and complain that things aren't set up right, that you don't like the choices. You make them. And, as opportunity arises, you set up the choices differently.

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