It's Only a Cup of Coffee

by Jared Taylor

This article was originally published in April 2010.  It is being republished in light of the Budget issues being discussed in the Gilbert Public Schools.  Once again, the Liberals are demanding more from the private sector.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed over 20 people in Mesa and Gilbert regarding an Executive Assistant position we are looking to fill at work. I was surprised that nearly all of the individuals living in Gilbert needed to get back into the workforce as either their spouse had been laid off or the household income had dried up. Cash was in short supply.

During a recent Council discussion, some members commented that another $100-$150 per year from a sales tax hike on Gilbert families was not a big deal. “It’s only a cup of coffee a day.”

Just a few minutes later, the Council also discussed a recommendation by the Citizen’s Budget Committee (CBC) to reduce the budget on tuition reimbursements and professional membership benefits for Town employees. When asked what the money was used for and how the Town benefited, the Town staff couldn’t quantify or qualify the return on this expensive investment.  Incredibly, the majority of the Council ignored the Citizen’s Budget Committee recommendation to reduce this nice-to-have spending. Rather, they justified that it wasn’t large enough to make a difference, although it would have saved over $600,000.

I was stunned. Where is the wisdom of asking struggling families to give up money they don’t have to fund lucrative benefits and memberships with vague or no returns? Furthermore, doesn’t it smell funny to ask citizens to give up “a cup of coffee” while the leaders of this town refuse to give up their expensive perks?

After reflecting on this Council meeting, the following Bible verse came to mind. “The Lord will enter into judgment with the ancients of his people, and the princes thereof: for ye have eaten up the vineyard; the spoil of the poor is in your houses. What mean ye that beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor?” (Isaiah 3:14-15). 

Those in touch with the Gilbert economy know that most citizens have given up “coffee” (or some of the nice-to-haves) a few years ago. They don’t have another “cup of coffee” to give up. Using the force of government to take hard-earned taxpayer money from one family for programs and practices that are not quantifiable would be laughable if it didn’t hurt so many families.

Although Mayor Lewis and Councilmember Jenn Daniels have been consistent in trying to roll back unnecessary and unjustifiable spending, they are consistently outvoted by the other members of this Council.

All this continues to reinforce the point that the money exists to run this town in a safe, effective and responsible way. A tax increase simply isn’t necessary.
Vote No on 406.