Well, it looks like another domino is falling in the chain of tax-raising Democrat autocracy that is government most anywhere in Delaware, with city, county, state, and federal government all solidly in the hands of tax more, borrow more, spend more Democrat politicians.
(Sorry, folks, but when you show me a government official from the Republican or any other non-Democrat political party in Delaware, or nationally, who is looking to raise taxes on the struggling citizenry I will gladly blast them just as forcefully).
On the heels of Wilmington Mayor Baker's promise that the city government will raise "taxes, fees, and anything we can", now comes blow # 2 to the double-taxed Wilmington residents, as well as a blow to all other home and property owners in New Castle County : a WHOPPING 25% increase in property tax rates.
Coons Seeks 25% Property Tax Hike
The News-Journal March 18, 2009
If approved by County Council, the tax hike would be the second biggest in county history and would raise an extra $21 million to help balance the $234 million budget for the 2010 fiscal year that begins July 1.
The average annual property tax bill would rise by about $100 to $501. Coons' spending plan also calls for a 10 percent increase in sewer fees.
The overall budget reflects the impact of the recession, particularly in housing. The county has depended heavily for years on a share of the statewide real estate transfer tax to balance its budget. Revenues from that tax have plummeted as home sales swooned."I think we've just gone overboard -- we've overspent," said civic leader Frances West, noting that residents will have to adjust to having less. "It's like raising kids. If you give them luxuries and then take them away, they're not going to be happy.
Coons' spending plan would trim personnel costs by $4.8 million, an amount he said could be achieved by laying off 75 to 100 employees.[FEARMONGERING ALERT...]
If layoffs are needed, they would occur across the board and include public safety services such as police and paramedics.
Coons said he is continuing to negotiate with the county's six unions to see whether they would accept furloughs or some other form of payroll reductions.
So far, the unions have balked at Coons' proposed furloughs, suggesting that taxes instead be raised to save county jobs.
Personnel costs account for more than three-fourths of the county's spending.
News that Democrat Chris Coons intends to jack up property taxes on us all to make his political accommodations is no surprise. He is a personally very-rich Democrat, freshly-re-elected, making a tidy 6-figure paycheck on the public's backs while trying to carve himself out an incumbency career in Delaware politics.
Property taxes are but pocket change to someone as wealthy as Coons. Coons lives at 2301 Delaware Avenue in a nearly-4200 square foot, 6-bedroom, 4-bath stone mansion that sits on nearly half an acre of land in the high-dollar Highlands neighborhood in Wilmington. To give you a sense of the value, the property sold in 1981 for $225,000.00. Of course, what Coons paid for it is masked by a deed that cleverly states a purely-nominal sale price of $ 10.
Clearly Coons has no compassion for how close so many New Castle County residents are cutting it these days just to survive, much less afford to keep our homes. I happen to be one such resident.
I live in a rather energy-inefficient drafty old house built in 1886 in what was not too long ago a largely a crime-infested ghetto in a low-income census tract a stone's throw from downtown Wilmington. I have been struggling gradually to restore and modernize it for several years. I also run my own law practice out of it.
Every single penny counts and every extra bit of increased taxation hurts my efforts to eke out a living much less improve my home.
A "$100 to $501" average annual tax increase may not seem like much to those in the Delaware Democrat government protectorate, but such a massive single tax hike really heaps insult upon injury to the residents of New Castle County.
We are not insulated from the economic downturn the way the government elites like Coons can and do insulate themselves. We have no choice but to pay however much more the Coons Democrat county government decides it wants to coerce from us.
Wilmington residents like me will have to add Coonsies' increased property taxes to the (likely to increase) property taxes we also pay to the City of Wimington for all the services that the county would otherwise provide us but doesn't and for which Wilmingtonians nonetheless still pay New Castle County.
Yes that's right, folks. Many people outside Wilmington don't know that Wilmington property owners are double-taxed on our property, paying both City and County property taxes, though we only receive the 'services' of the city government!
Shame on you, Mr. Coons. While you have talked a good game about cutting here and there (with paltry personnel cost reductions a measly 2%) it is obvious you are more interested in servicing the bloat you and your Democrat party have made of county government, flowing out of the same government-centric mind that drives the lard-laden Wilmington patronage government racket.
You are clearly capitulating to the organized labor fatasses who dominate the Democrat party, who you need for any political future in it, and who are more than happy to exploit higher property taxes, holding hostage most peoples' biggest life investment : our homes, in order to continue theirs and your cozy ride on the public gravy train.
Coons needs to tighten county government's oversized belt a helluva lot more. He needs to stop fearmongering with threats of public safety cuts. And he needs to tell the unions exactly where they can put their demands before hijacking yet more money from the citizenry.
No government should be immune from sharing in the severe economic constriction we are seeing now, especially and most severely reflected in the depressed values of the very housing upon which Coons wants to up the tax ante.
Coons must be wagering we'll all forget about these tax increases when he comes around again for our votes for whatever office he next seeks. (Don't count on it, buddy.)
I can hardly wait to see what tax hikes Jack Markell and the Democrat-run General Assembly have in store for us, to address the $606,000,000.00 budget shortfall they claim must be filled to keep Delaware's bloated state government rolling in clover.
I would be ecstatic to be proven wrong about this but I will not be holding my breath. I have a sinking feeling that the state tax domino will be the next to fall right on top of us, along with the myriad other Democrat tax increases we are seeing from top to bottom.
Contact your County Councilperson and tell them NO TAX INCREASES IN NEW CASTLE COUNTY!