By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, Auburn residents rejected calls by the city’s elites for mammoth property tax increases. The referendum shows that the people of Alabama are hostile toward more growth in government and politicians throughout the state of Alabama should take notice of this epic defeat.
Auburn is unique in the state of Alabama in that the largest employer in the city is education. Most Auburn residents know numerous people with doctorates (whether they have their own PhD or not). They (more than most people in Alabama) know the importance of having a strong K-12 education in laying the foundation for a lifetime.
That said, Auburn School Superintendent Karen DeLano’s demands that the people surrender more of their money to her school system were convincingly rejected by Auburn voters by 54% to 46% (according to the numbers available at press time.) An impressive 9,687 people voted in this single issue referendum hidden on a late September ballot, when most of the people of this state are normally focused on college football and the start of bow season.
DeLano somehow convinced Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard (R) from Auburn that this scheme was a good idea and that this actually had real popular support. The Speaker was wrong on both counts. DeLano failed to convince the voters that raising their property taxes by 9 mills was in anybody’s best interests. Ms. Delano probably should resign for her role in this whole sorry debacle.
The people of Alabama (and the nation) think that they are taxed enough. Wage growth is virtually nonexistent, the housing crash is still recent in people’s memories and families are worried about the affects of impending Obamacare and paying for their own retirements.
Thinking that a tax increase was a good idea right now shows that the educrats in Auburn’s city school system are somehow insulated from the lives of real people and what they think.
The bigger picture is that unless they are in a strong Democratic District (and even then I would have doubts) politicians running in the 2014 elections need to distance themselves from any calls for additional taxation for education or for any other purpose.
If the voters in Auburn won’t back an education tax increase then it likely won’t pass anywhere in Alabama and any statewide revenue measure should be dead on arrival in the 2014 legislative session.