The date was 8/11/2009. The scene: the Council Chambers. Forty-one days before, on 6/30/2009, Linda Abbott, Les Presmyk, and Steve Urie made motions for 3 tax increases. They all passed. Many ordinary citizens had argued against the tax increases, but their arguments had been ignored by the majority as “not representative of Gilbert.”
The citizens who had been ignored helped gather 2500 signatures on 3 petitions to stop the Council from forcing tax increases onto us. The language of the petition stated that the tax increases should go to a vote of the people. What is very important to understand is that the 3 petitions were the only tool the citizens had to stop the tax increases. They didn’t want anymore taxes, period.
On 8/11/2009, Carrie Ann Sitren, a Goldwater Institute attorney, spoke advising the Council that “we don’t believe this is even a close call…. You should allow your electorate to have a voice: the referenda.”
At the 8/11/09 Council meeting, 17 citizens spoke out against the increases. Another 18 citizens submitted cards protesting the taxes but did not speak. Here is a sampling of some of those who spoke. Notice that the citizens weren’t saying, “send the tax increase to a vote.” They were saying, “No more taxes!”
To jubilant cheers, the Council voted unanimously that night to rescind all three tax increases.
The jubilation didn’t last for long.
See Gilbert Watch’s next article coming soon: “Prop 406 : Linda Abbott & Co.’s Sales Tax Increase.”