Tuesday, May 03, 2005

More Bone-Headed Metro Council Action Sponsored By My Councilman

Metro Council passed a "non-binding resolution" declaring it "fitting and proper that the Mayor not include a tax increase in his proposed fiscal year 2006 operating budget."

Ludye Wallace, the councilman from my district, sponsored the bill and spoke up for it with some pretty preposterous logic:
We've got so much stuff ... is it dog parks or parks for children? Is it highways or bikeways? We may need the dog parks, we may need the bike lanes, but we don't have the money for everything you can think of and for every wish a department can make. [Source]
I am coining a new term for nonsensical arguments: "ludyecrous," as in "It is 'ludyecrous' to throw out all revenue possibilities without having looked at a budget just because you falsely assume that you have to approve every single department's wish if you approve any" or "Arguing that spray-painted, gang-related graffiti might be the work of budding artists in order to stop Council efforts to prevent that graffiti is by definition 'ludyecrous.'"

Aside from the fact that this resolution is non-binding (which makes it about as stouthearted as sitting still to play "The Quiet Game") it does not fit the way people actually live their lives. It's the equivalent of a family gathering at the kitchen table to look at their budget, but concluding beforehand that any possibilities for increasing income to pay for bills are impossible. I don't know any family that rejects future revenue sources before they even consider their budget.

Thank goodness that I have the Councilmembers-at-Large as my representatives, too. Because one of them, David Briley, pointedly asked his fellows during the debate, "If refusing to raise revenues means giving up services in your district will you vote to cut services to your constituents?" (my paraphrase). He also spoke the other half of the truth that conservatives tend to ignore: people want their services funded fully as much as they'd like to see their taxes cut. He tried to persuade the Council to defer the bill until after they received and considered the Mayor's budget for next year.

Finally, when it was clear that Wallace's bill was going to pass, given the expressed support for it, Briley moved that the vote on the bill be roll call instead of voice, effectively holding his peers publicly accountable. The most remarkable moment for me came when Briley said something to the effect that if they acted prematurely to reject all revenue proposals before the mayor ever proposed them, then perhaps the bad things people were saying about this Council were true.

Ouch. The truth hurts sometimes.

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