Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chip Maxwell on Taxes and Merging of Government Services

Marc Kraft is running for Douglas County Commissioner against the affable and very able Chip Maxwell (photo at right) and because of Chip's experience (8 years in public service, the last stint being a Douglas County Commissioner ), his popularity, and his principles (Chip is an active pro-life conservative), Mr. Kraft has had a hard time coming up with reasons to vote Chip Maxwell out of office.

So, like way too many do in political races, Kraft has taken to inventing issues. Most notably, Kraft is arguing that Maxwell is for higher taxes and a "forced merger" of the City of Omaha and Douglas County.

How does Chip respond?

"I’d like to shift more of your tax burden to sales tax, but only if the property tax is abolished. My opponent forgot to mention that part. Every year I served in the state legislature was a brutal budget crisis, and the pressure was intense to raise taxes. I said no, we should instead use the opportunity to overhaul state spending, especially the nonsensical way we fund K-12 education. Since I joined the county board in 2005, the county’s property tax rate has gone down 8.6%. I’m a tenacious defender of the taxpayer. Any change I advocate will benefit the taxpayer. I’ve proven that in my 8 years in public office, and you can count on me to keep looking out for the taxpayer."

And as for the rather strange charge of backing a "forced merger" of city and county?

"My opponent put out a hit piece on me saying I’m for forced merger of Omaha and Douglas County to create bigger and more expensive government. First of all, there’s no such thing as forced merger. A commission would be formed, there would be public hearings and opportunities for revision, and finally a vote of the people.

There are many ways to put together a merger package that makes sense for the taxpaying public. Other places around the country have done it, and so can we. If my opponent wants to make an issue of merger, that’s fine with me. Government insiders and special interests hate merger. The taxpaying public loves merger. The one time the concept of merger was on the ballot, there was overwhelming support from every corner of Douglas County. 90% of Douglas County residents also live in Omaha. The public understands that we don’t need two houses of local government to manage local services."

So pass these correctives around to your friends and family in mid-town Omaha (Chip's District 5 takes in 36th Street on the east end, Dodge on the south, basically 108th on the west, and Fort Street/Radial on the north) and make sure, that in their choice of Douglas County Commissioner, they're seeing the whole picture.