The three at-large members of the Citizens Budget Committee unanimously oppose the Town of Gilbert’s proposed permanent sales tax increase (Proposition 406).
As citizens of the town, we were selected and chartered by the Town Council, to help resolve the town’s budget issues. In this voluntary capacity, we directly supported the Town Council. For 3 months we poured over the budgets and worked with the other citizen sub-committees and Town staff in reviewing hundreds of ideas.
On December 7, 2009 this work was successfully completed and presented to the Council. The recommendations contain solutions which will resolve the budget gap and return the town to financial stability, not only for this “crisis” year, but for years to come. We are disappointed that this work has been virtually ignored, and instead the Council’s effort has been to focus on a permanent tax increase, which is not needed.
None of our recommendations included the need for a permanent sales tax increase. At one point during the process, a temporary (3 year only) sales tax increase was considered, but it was defeated 10 to 2 by the citizens involved in this work.
Our fear is that if this permanent sales tax is approved, it will support continued inefficiencies that will remain in the Town’s infrastructure. Instead, the Town needs to reapply tools that have been used successfully in business and other communities to eliminate inefficiencies and improve prioritization. This is how we can retain our services.
Our town is wonderful, but it is not perfect. The Town asked for and received expert citizen input to resolve the budget issue. The Town Council has largely ignored these recommendations and instead chosen a very different path.