Wednesday, December 02, 2009

David Pepper: Another Tax and Spend Phony in the Line of Strickland

Remember how candidate Strickland said raising taxes would be bad? Remember how candidate Ted Strickland said increasing fees would be the same as raising taxes? Then, remember how Governor Strickland went ahead and raised taxes and raised fees, in the middle of a terrible recession for Ohio and a looming one that has come home to roost for the nation. Well, Governor Strickland has someone who thinks lying to the voters and making them think you are fiscally responsible and beholden to constituents then screwing them out of their own money is perfectly acceptable. I am talking about Hamilton County Commissioner and Democrat candidate for State Auditor David Pepper. Pepper voted on Monday to raise taxes on the hardworking people of Hamilton County for the 2nd time in three years.

The Democratic candidate for state auditor cast the lone vote in favor of a plan that "would increase the amount people would pay next year in property taxes," according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The plan to reduce a promised property tax rollback reflects a similar proposal made recently by Gov. Ted Strickland that calls for postponing a promised state income tax cut in order to balance the state budget, effectively asking Ohioans to pay nearly $1 billion more in taxes next year. How about we cut some costs, there fellas? I mean, what about lessening the overhead on the executive branch? Surely there are some flame painted SUVs left over from the Marc Dann era we could sell off?

In a move reminiscent of shooting fish in a barrel, Ohio GOP Chair Kevin DeWine (aka Mr. P) had this to say: "David Pepper is proving to be nothing more than a lapdog for Ted Strickland's failed policies," said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine. "He took a play from the governor's budget playbook and voted to stick Ohio's struggling families with another bill at a time when they can least afford it. Ohio's state and local tax burden has been ranked among the top ten highest in the nation, and it's no coincidence that our economy is ranked among the worst."

What Kevin failed to mention is that then Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted rolled over on these failed policies because he didn't want to damage his Q rating with voters, since Strickland was so popular a governor at the time, and even engaged in a manly embrace with the governor over the passing of such horrendous fiscal policy.

But, back to Mr. Pepper, who seems to be trying to fool voters with a Hackett manuever (making voters think you are one thing, while doing the opposite). He tries to talk fiscal restraint and being responsible with taxpayer dollars, but he doesn't want to give people back their money. Strickland previously claimed that higher taxes would be "harmful" and "have the effect of deepening the recession and causing it to last longer." Pepper echoed the same theme in September. "I just think right now citizens are feeling a real squeeze," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Property taxes hit people hard because they hit them whether or not they bring in income at that time. Anything you can do to reduce the cost of property tax levies you should do." He also wrote on his blog as recently as last week that fulfilling the promised property tax rollback was "simple and clear cut" and that not doing so "would fundamentally breach our mandate at a time when citizens already have lost so much faith in government."

The Hamilton County Democrat has developed a controversial reputation for tax hikes and fee increases during his tenure as a county commissioner. He voted in 2007 to raise the county sales tax, but the increase was defeated overwhelmingly when citizen groups rallied to put it on the ballot. In 2002, Pepper led a successful effort to pass a $1 million annual tax on visiting athletes, musicians and entertainers. He also voted to approve numerous fee increases for home security systems, parking tickets, fire inspections and building permits.

Pepper has an inconsistent record on the issue of reversing Hamilton County's property tax rollback:

•2009: Commissioner David Pepper supported the option [to reduce the tax rollback], calling it a responsible move. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/30/09)

•2008: But the behind-the-scenes research is fueling rumors that the county is secretly considering a tax increase. Commissioners said again Tuesday that's just not true. "I've said in every way I can to our administration we won't touch the property-tax rebate and won't raise the sales tax," said Commissioner David Pepper. "We'll make cuts and we'll get through it. "I have no idea how I can be any more clear on any of this. Besides, the voters have spoken pretty loudly. It just makes no sense." (Cincinnati Enquirer, 7/16/08)

•2007: Hamilton County residents will continue to get a property tax rollback promised to them in return for their support of a sales tax hike back in 1996. County commissioners voted unanimously on Wednesday to keep the rollback. It had been suggested by the county administration that dropping the rollback would raise up to $20 million to stave off a looming deficit. "We cannot go back on a promise made to taxpayers over a decade ago," said Commissioner David Pepper. "While we have to tackle our tough budget issues, we cannot do so by raising property taxes." (Cincinnati Business Courier, 11/28/07)

The guy sounds just like Strickland and Obama and Pelosi. If they can't pass an out and out tax, then they will go stealth or subtle and raise fees and mandates so you end up giving them more of YOUR money. Disgraceful and shameful, but typical of Democrats.

Let's contrast this with Mary Taylor, who in her job as auditor has been busy serving the people and exposing government waste wherever she finds it. She has been working hard and serving the people, not going out and talking through both sides of her mouth.