I can’t help thinking Phil Goof’s focus as mayor is somewhat the same as his predecessor’s: picking your pocket for more millions on his pet projects.
Yesterday’s brainfart: dunning tourists while pledging to “peg” rate rises to only 2.5 percent a year. Len Brown pledged the same thing with rates–even the same number—and we saw how well that peg worked, didn’t we.
Given the way rates and debt both exploded under Pants-Down’s round, any pledge to “keep rate increases below inflation” now is like a strangler promising only to suffocate you more slowly. And that’s even if the politician were to keep his promise. (Q: How do you know a politician is lying … )
So I can’t help but think that the touted tourist tax is just a way, just one small way, to help fill the very large pot he needs to gets his own monuments out of the ground (new stadia; new train sets; who the hell knows what else) and pay for his not-inexpensive pledge to raise the wages of most people employed by the council..
The fair city of Sydney has used this ploy for some years to help it pay off the Olympics. The costly event has long gone, but its debts and room-tax remain, raising room rates for everyone who roams there while turning their hosts into tax collectors.
Goof wants to use it, he says, to pay for more tourist promotion – which has as much credibility as that from Brown that the petrol tax he toyed with would help him build more motorways. Goof has plans for his own spend-up, and he needs to fill the pot.
Notice that in addition to this touted tax he’s already flagged both a petrol tax and a tax on “large-scale developments” that are increasingly struggling to get off the ground financially – both of these to be paid in the end by you and I [UPDATE: Plus he’s “bidding for a significant share of the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund.”] To paraphrase a popular line, a room tax here, a petrol tax there, and several other taxes later like it and sooner or later you’re talking real money. Brown raised debt and core rates to pay for his projects; Goof hopes to get these and several other taxes off the ground to pretend he’s kept a core pledge – but of what worth is it that rates themselves rise at 2.5% if a score of new taxes is added to the amount we pay to his Grey Ones.
And who really believes he won’t keep raising that rates bill anyway.