Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Tax Cut Approved, Delayed
By Jim Ludwick
Journal Staff Writer
City councilors late Monday night approved a tax cut proposed by Mayor Martin Chávez, but they delayed it for six months to help provide the county with $9 million for jail expenses.
The eighth-cent reduction in gross-receipts taxes will take effect on July 1, 2008. Chávez wanted to cut taxes Jan. 1.
Craig Loy, Sally Mayer, Ken Sanchez and Brad Winter voted against delaying the tax reduction. Voting to delay were Isaac Benton, Michael Cadigan, Don Harris, Martin Heinrich and Debbie O'Malley.
Once the date was changed, the tax cut was approved 7-2, over the protests of Loy and Sanchez.
"This tax cut is too little, too late, and it's politically motivated. ... I guess it's better than nothing," Winter said.
Councilors later approved an overall budget plan of more than $490 million that shifts some expenses to the city's capital program, provides additional funds for public safety and cuts park projects near Civic Plaza and the Big I.
It was approved 6-3, winning favor from Benton, Cadigan, Harris, Heinrich, O'Malley and Winter. Opponents were Loy, Mayer and Sanchez.
Mayor Martin Chávez, at a news conference just before the council meeting began, said he would veto a decision to give the county $9 million.
He said the council plan is "laced with petty pork, to satisfy the whims of would-be congressmen, would-be mayors, would-be re-elected councilors."
Harris, the council's budget chairman, said the approved plan was "far superior" to the mayor's budget proposal.
"We are doing our job. Our job is not to rubber-stamp whatever the mayor wants to do," Harris said.