To the Editor:
I was surprised to be painted with the broad brush of agreement in last week's article, FACTUAL BUDGETARY POINTS, in the Cannon Courier. No one consulted me as a member of the budget committee, and I was unaware of any scheduled meetings. Furthermore, I did not give anyone the right to speak for me. Let the record be clear. I did not vote for the budget that went forward from the budget committee to the county commission. To the dismay of the members present I simply disagreed with the budgetary review process. I believed that the outcome was insufficient due to the fact we did not review the entire budget. I argued that point in committee and stated that we were only cutting the General Fund, approximately half the county budget, and was not a smart way to do business. However, most of the committee voted for it and it moved forward from the committee to the county commission for approval.
That "balanced budget proposal" moved forward with stipulations attached: 1) 15 cents property tax increase, 2) a proposed wheel tax increase, and 3) a sales tax increase. Knowing that the county commission can only approve property levy (tax), the other taxes would require a vote from the public. I did not feel that it was in the best interest of the taxpayer to approve a divisive issue, such as wheel tax and or sales tax, much less attaching it to the budget. It clouds the issue and ensures a politicized process. Also, during the budget committee discussion the idea was to return 13 cents of property tax, if the wheel tax passed. The sales tax was also discussed, but I believed it would generate very little in revenue for the county. Again, I found this process disingenuous to our budget challenges and was against it.
Once the wheel tax and sales tax issue was in front of the county commission I agreed to put it on the ballot. However, I did not believe we would return the 13 cents of property tax, regardless of the outcome of the vote. I know now that we will continue to smoke the "budgetary" battlefield for the taxpayer. We need to speak plainly concerning the real problems our county faces. Deception only distorts the issue. The County Executive became painfully concerning cannon county budgetary issues when the state comptroller would not approve any more internal borrowing.
I ask the voters to contact their commissioners, attend the meetings, and decide for yourself where the truth lay. Before I make a decision I analyze, research, assess, and make decisions based on objective analysis. Again, I reiterate that I did not agree with the budget passed due to the stipulations attached. I ask the author of the courier article, FACTUAL BUDGETARY POINTS, to come clean and speak for yourself, not me. As a member of the budget committee and county commissioner contact me anytime for clarification on issues within our community.
Brent D. Bush
4th District County Commissioner