Monday, November 30, 2009

Blue-faced, lying and misleading

Blogging CM Emily Evans is more charitable toward mainstream columnist Gail Kerr's Sunday Tennessean piece than I was while she still challenges Kerr's assumptions about mayoral budget options:
Missing from Gail's analysis is the outcome of the convention center debate. If the convention center is approved, it very likely rules out a property tax increase. We can talk til we are blue in the face about how the revenues for the proposed convention center can only be used for a convention center. In addition to turning blue we will also be lying because many of the taxes (2% of HOT and redirected sales taxes which make up the majority of the earmarked revenues) can and/or are being used for something else. In addition to turning blue and lying we would also be misleading because we can and have changed state law to expand the permitted uses of of these taxes .... regardless of the limitations - real or perceived - of state law, the public will believe that the property tax increase was directly related to the construction of the convention center.

The possibilities for a sales tax increase are equally remote for the same reason. Increasing sales taxes will require a public vote and that day at the ballot box could easily turn into a referendum on the convention center.

The convention center demonstrates an "all-our'eggs-in-one-basket" approach that could turn our other obligations to our employees, our city services, our education system into after-thoughts that become victims of political backlash.
I agree, but I believe that Kerr's self-interest in pandering to the Mayor's Office blinds her to the political realities behind the budget realities. Moreover, news of payment of $2,500 to a PR firm to coach Ms. Kerr on writing promotional puff earlier this year indicates that she is not predisposed to consider the convention center in any critical way whatsoever. Gail Kerr is not merely your average mainstream shill for the Mayor's Office; Metro funds also bought and paid for her propped editorials. So, I find it logical that she ignored what Emily Evans cannot: the political and fiscal millstone of building the Music City Center. Any Kerr editorial is bound to be incomplete unless seen in the context of Kerr's politic.

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