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Anders mystery plan to repair our broken streets

by fredo
on 10/27/2011 @ 8:32am
Anders plans to fix Tacoma's broken streets according to his campaign material.

But there's no information about how he's going to accomplish this ambitious objective. 

I'm very interesting in having the streets repaired and have several unvoted ballots on my kitchen table. 

Anders what is your exact plan?

by Jesse on 10/27/2011 @ 9:30am
I don't think any candidate has expressed their goals if elected.  They're good at stating "what they'd do if... (fill in the blank)"   -- but that's a reactionary manager - not a proactive leader.

If the plan isn't written down and there isn't a timeframe to accomplish said goal, than it isn't a goal.

by fredo on 10/27/2011 @ 9:49am
Here's Anders Number 1 priority:"repair our broken streets"

Since the city is already trying to repair the streets and since the city has just announced that it is $26,000,000 over budget I'm wondering how Anders plans to improve the street situation?

What is he going to change that will free up funding for the street repairs.  I think it's a fair question and Anders always reminds every voter that he's a good listener. I'm wondering if he's really listening.

by fredo on 10/27/2011 @ 10:13am
Jesse, I liked your posting. Anders didn't state that the street repairs were a "goal" nor did he state a time frame for accomplishing his priority. Since he's running for a 4 year term then, arguably, the accomplishment is to be performed within 4 years. 

The forum is available for Anders to declare his intention. If he intends street repairs to be his goal and he wants to inform us about changes needed at city hall to make this goal a reality let's hear about it NOW before we've marked our ballots. 

If it's just something he put on his campaign mailer because people always complain about the potholes he can just declare that as well.  

by NineInchNachos on 10/27/2011 @ 10:28am
Go Anders! 

by fredo on 10/27/2011 @ 10:31am

RR, can you go wake up Anders? His future constituents have more questions for him.

by NineInchNachos on 10/27/2011 @ 10:33am
he's on a door belling tornado !  where do you live? 

by fredo on 10/27/2011 @ 12:22pm

doorbelling,  he needs to be using the social media. what is this 1985?

by NineInchNachos on 10/27/2011 @ 12:25pm
it's how you win hearts and minds in sector 1
it worked in the primary ! 
i'll post this link on his facebook 

by fredo on 10/27/2011 @ 3:49pm
Oh, I think I understand his political style now. If someone wants to ask him a question of general interest on a subject that many people would probably like the answer to then they should have Anders come over to their house to speak with them personally about it.

by NineInchNachos on 10/27/2011 @ 3:54pm

by CaptainBritton on 10/27/2011 @ 5:03pm
C'mon Fredo, we all know you are gonna write in Ayn Rand anyway, so why the grumpy front? :)

by NineInchNachos on 10/27/2011 @ 5:05pm
Fredo voted for Obama, he's going to vote for Anders too.  
unless he doesn't live in sector 1 

by fredo on 10/27/2011 @ 5:08pm
Ibsen needs 1st district votes.
I've got 1st district ballots.
I'm just a voter looking for additional candidate input.
That's a good thing isn't it?

by CaptainBritton on 10/27/2011 @ 5:15pm
Yes, it's a good thing, man. It's a very good thing.

by NineInchNachos on 10/27/2011 @ 6:30pm
wish I could vote for ANDERS IBSEN! 

by KevinFreitas on 10/27/2011 @ 8:28pm
That's a very good thing @Fredo. I'd like to think a phrase like "repair our broken streets" could be both literal and figurative. "Broken streets" could be referring not just to physical infrastructure but perhaps also to the bonds of our community. Er something.

At any rate, I think it's absolutely fair to ask for accountability when anyone makes any promise. That being said, there's a reality behind being a candidate for city council that every council member should address and that's they're one of many on that (part-time) governing body with limits like budgets and resources -- I'd most like to know how they'll all work together toward bettering Tacoma than what individually they might try to do. We're all in this together here and I'd like to see the same from an candidate wanting to serve this citizenry.

by fredo on 10/27/2011 @ 8:51pm
I understand that there are voters like you Kevin whose main interest is what sort of a feeling you get from a candidate.
But I'm more of an issue oriented voter. If a candidate mentions something that's a priority for them and it's something that's also a priority for me, like street repair, I'm going to press them for details.
I've been voting for 43 years and I'm not really impressed any more with all that Kuum-by-yah voter guide boilerplate. All those comments about responsiveness, accountability, listening abilities, open door policies and inclusiveness are a bunch of hogwash. If you ask every candidate for office if they are willing to "work together toward bettering Tacoma" I'm pretty sure they will all say yes. 

by KevinFreitas on 10/27/2011 @ 9:16pm
I'm not talking feelings @fredo. I want less popular pandering (e.g. "I'm gonna fix all the potholes!") and more cooperation with their fellow City Council members and local organizations and agencies. That being said, [I think] we want the same thing: specific ideas/plans rather than just campaign sound bite statements.

by Anders on 10/28/2011 @ 12:24am
Hi everybody,

I've actually gone on record at least a couple times about the "how" of funding infrastructure improvements, but to reiterate, I think we need a pragmatic balance between savings and revenue. I have the exact same attitude towards closing the $26 million budget hole; we need a balanced approach.

In terms of savings, our biggest choices are between layoffs and salary/benefits cuts. I am against most layoffs (especially for lower-level workers), since that also means service reductions for citizens, and effectively means an increase in local unemployment. Making unemployment worse is the dumbest thing we can do in a bad economy.

If we are going to conduct salary cuts, however, I would like special attention to fairness. All too often when classified employees are asked to make sacrifices, top management doesn't make a matching effort. If cuts are on the table, then I want everyone from the city manager, to department heads, all the way down the chain of command to make similar sacrifices. As should councilmembers - if elected, I would be more than willing to vote for a councilmember pay cut in conjunction with staff.

On the revenue side, our options as a city are to raise the sales tax, raise various B&O tax rates, or create a transportation benefit district that would allow the city transportation-related revenue options like: a $20 license tab fee (up to $100 with a public vote); an additional property tax levy; a 0.2% sales and use tax; or a local option fuel tax. 

A modest sales tax increase is acceptable to me. In terms of the B&O tax, I would be open to restoring the international investment rate to its 2002 rate of 0.00275% (it's currently 0.00165%). I am absolutely in favor of creating a transportation benefits district.

Another revenue option no one has even brought up is critically examining city tax breaks. For example, internet service providers pay no B&O taxes in the city. If elected, I would ask city staff to compile a complete list of tax breaks granted by the City of Tacoma, so that both the council and the public can learn which ones are producing the intended effect, and which ones aren't justifiable at this time.

We currently have a Mobility Stakeholder Funding Taskforce comprised of citizens from all over Tacoma deliberating over the best revenue options for funding infrastructure improvements. I definitely look forward to bringing their recommendations into the discussion.

by fredo on 10/28/2011 @ 5:53am
  "I want less popular pandering (e.g. "I'm gonna fix all the potholes!") and more cooperation with their fellow City Council members and local organizations and agencies." Kevin 

So when the city council voted unanimously to approve the Clear Channel settlement agreement was that an example of "more cooperation with their fellow City Council members?" 

I think this cooperative spirit imperative is highly overrated and doesn't really serve the citizens. What tacoma needs is more council members who have the courage to take a stand. If we had 5 courageous councilmembers at the time of the settlement agreement vote we would't be facing a $70,000,000 law suit.  

by fredo on 10/28/2011 @ 6:56am
"making unemployment higher is the dumbest thing we could do" Anders

...yet you would raise the b&o tax on employers including manufacturers, raise the real and personal property tax rates on employers, raise the gas tax and registration fees on work trucks and business cars, and raise the sales tax rates within the city. All these changes would tend to encourage employers to leave the city. These changes would tend to make unemployment higher. Isn't that the dumbest thing we could do in a bad economy?

by fredo on 10/28/2011 @ 7:01am
Anders you are on record as favoring making Tacoma an affordable place to live. 

How does increasing the city sales tax, increasing the car tabs, increasing the gas tax, and increasing real property tax rates contribute to making Tacoma an affordable place to live? Those factors make Tacoma LESS affordable, not more affordable.

by NineInchNachos on 10/28/2011 @ 8:09am
man it's hard to read with all the goofy extra characters...   Andrew says its because of a UTF8 encoding error.. or something

by NineInchNachos on 10/28/2011 @ 8:49am
Fredo, how many other candidates can you summon on feedtacoma?    VOTE ANDERS ! 

by fredo on 10/28/2011 @ 9:03am

I do give Anders credit for trying to respond to select questions.  

by Anders on 10/28/2011 @ 3:36pm
No one is going to be happy with any decision the city makes to correct the budget situation. That's why I believe a balanced approach that includes revenue and cuts is the most appropriate action. If we're going to make sacrifices, then it should be shared.

To answer your question about affordability and businesses, my answer is that twofold: taxes have an extremely over-rated effect on economic development, and service cuts often hurt people more than most tax increases.

My first answer may seem shocking. But it's really just common sense that any person can observe. Tax rates have a very trivial effect on economic development, when compared to other bigger factors like workforce training, labor costs, infrastructure and amenities - and above all, quality of life.

If you don't believe me, then answer one simple question: Why isn't Seattle hemmoraghing businesses, and why aren't cities like Yakima swallowing up those businesses?

Seattle has the highest B&O tax rates in the state, due to voter-approved expansions. Their service B&O tax rate is twice as high as the state average. Yakima has no B&O tax rate. And yet large metropolitan areas (which tend to have higher taxes on average) tend to have most of the jobs, and rural communities with rock-bottom tax rates are dependant on the public sector for most of their employment. Why is that?

Besides the economy of scale that larger municipalities have at their disposal, it's mostly due to the fact that people like living in urban areas. They like responsive police, an active night life, good schools, convenient transportation options. Those amenities and infrastructure come from, or are the products of, government services. And those services cost money. Taxes are the price we pay for a decent quality of life that makes private prosperity possible.

As for affordability, I am aware that any tax increase is a sacrifice. I don't take that lightly. But that's the problem with our political rhetoric these days: pundits laud politicians for brave "sacrifices" that cut the healthcare for the disabled (and conveniently leave in the tax breaks for banks and private jets), but they seem to think that the similar "sacrifice" of enduring slightly higher taxes to preserve or enhace services is completely out of the question. Isn't that at least slightly inconsistent?

Ask yourself: is it more burdensome to pay a few cents more on your purchases, or to have to wake up at 4:30 AM to get to your job that starts at 8:00 AM because of transit cuts?

by fredo on 10/28/2011 @ 4:26pm
If tax cuts aren't necessary for business to thrive then why did the city of Tacoma just eliminate the b&o tax for businesses under $250K gross receipts per year? That doesn't make any sense. Are the 9 members of the city council wrong?
Furthermore, your comparison of Tacoma to Seattle is absurd. Seattle is a huge economic engine, perhaps they can absorb higher taxes. Tacoma is a sputtering engine with 3 burned valves and a blown head gasket. Your plan to add business taxes is going to result in even weaker growth in business formation and employment.
You say we need higher taxes for good schools and transportation, but I don't think the city of Tacoma pays for those. Aren't those paid for separately from city services?
Also city of Tacoma isn't really involved in providing health care for the disabled, bank bailouts, private jets. None of that has anything to do with the city council.
I think you should stop saying that you have an interest in making Tacoma an affordable place to live as long as you are pushing big tax increases for everybody. You say that all the tax increases will only amount to a "few cents" but we both know that's not true. Increases in property taxes, sales taxes, car tabs, gasoline taxes and new levies will cost the average citizen much much more than that, hundreds or thousands of dollars per year.

by Nick on 10/28/2011 @ 5:31pm
New perspective: Tacoma is selling itself, and the B&O tax is the price at which it is being sold. Price it to high, and many businesses will say "Tacoma's too expensive, I'll find something cheaper." Price it too low and, just like a business selling a product, Tacoma ceases to be viable (negative cash flow).

Thinking of it that way, there does exist some tax rate that would effectively be the "market value" for operating a business in Tacoma. It also becomes easier to comprehend what kinds of expenditures are an effective use of B&O tax revenue. Just like Apple using its profits to advance/improve its iPhone, Tacoma could use its "profits" to improve the value of what it is selling. The question then becomes, what is Tacoma's proper valuation, and what are the best ways to increase that?

by Nick on 10/28/2011 @ 5:36pm
It also gets easier to make a comparison to another nearby city like Seattle. If Seattle isn't hemorrhaging businesses, it must be valuing itself through its B&O tax rate reasonably well. If that's true, then we can use a comparison to decide what it is about Seattle that makes it more valuable, and then consider those differences as one possible way to raise Tacoma's value.

by fredo on 10/28/2011 @ 5:48pm
The notion that Seattle isn't hemmoraging business like Tacoma could be rebutted. The commercial vacancy rate for both cities is about 15.1%
That means there is lots of vacant commercial space in Seattle. The claim that the high B&O tax in Seattle is not preventing these spaces from being occupied can not be established.
I would say the business taxes in both localities is too high and I've provided some evidence.

by fredo on 10/28/2011 @ 5:57pm
Nick, you said that if we price our B&O too low it creates a negative cash flow. I don't think that's really true. If we eliminate the B&O tax, for example on Big Box retail stores and subsequently a Big Box store opens up and does $40M per year the city stands to collect in excess of $800,000 per year from sales taxes alone. How is that a negative cash flow? If they don't open a store because of the B&O tax, not only do we not get the $80,000/ b&o tax, we also don't get the $800,000 sales taxes.
Isn't that the definition of penny wise and pound foolish? 

by fredo on 10/29/2011 @ 1:51pm
Anders your plan to increase property taxes, sales taxes and license tabs is going to create a huge hardship on Tacoma's poorest citizens. People living at the margins are going to be forced out of their homes or other accomodations.
I'm sure you don't hate poor people so why would you wish to create a hardship on them?
Please consider retracting your positions on tax increases before the election. You should have an all cuts budget from the overpaid city workers rather than even considering making the most vulnerable among us suffer more.
Please think of the poor people Anders. 

by Anders on 10/29/2011 @ 7:33pm
Cutting salaries and benefits won't be nearly enough to close to budget hole. Unless we have a balanced approach that includes some revenue provisions, you're talking about devastating service cuts that would hamper our city's economic growth and hurt people more than a modest tax increase ever could.

I'm not a Tea Partier, Fredo. You're just going to have to acclimate yourself to that fact for the next 4 years.

by fredo on 10/29/2011 @ 8:04pm
Thanks for your comment Anders.
The city is in the hole $26M and they gave out about $26M in raises during the last two years. Why wouldn't taking back these raises (which we couldn't afford) bring the budget back into balance? This would not cause any service cut backs OR tax increases. Why do you say that salary cuts wouldn't close the budget hole? Clearly...they will.

by Anders on 10/29/2011 @ 8:23pm

Well, agree or disagree on any particular issue, you're still a potential constituent Fredo, so anytime you ever want to chat or debate, you've got my number and email. Hope I gave you a sufficiently clear outline of my plan for street funding re: your original question.