Ignore the self-serving explanations from Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and members of city council for the decision to withdraw most of the pay raises granted to management level employees. The threat of a citizens' campaign to rollback the city's 2.75 percent income tax rate served as a reality check for the mayor and lawmakers.
The suggestion of a referendum to reduce the tax by a half-percent was made in this blog in early December and triggered reader discussion. A subsequent column by this writer in The Vindicator prompted several calls from city residents interested in leading or joining the tax revolt.
But now that the mayor and council have voted to give management types a raise for only one year, should the tax-cut idea be shelved? The answer, of course, is an unequivocal No! The so-called keepers of the public purse are not to be trusted.
Indeed, there are indications that the new city council intends to revisit the pay-raise issue. Let lawmakers be warned that private sector taxpayers are not willing to give more of their money to so-called public servants. The fact that more than 80 percent of the general fund goes for salaries and benefits is a major point of contention.
2008 should be the year of concessions and givebacks at all levels of government. This region's economy continues to be anemic and pay raises for those slopping at the public trough are the last thing taxpayers in the real world will accept.