Thursday, August 27, 2009


Canton City Council president Allen Schulman just delivered a "classic" political lesson to Cantonians.

What lesson?

The lesson of the "political" trial balloon, that's what.


Because Canton is in a financial mess (despite having a graduate of the New York University Stern School of Business at its helm), city officials are desperately looking for ways out.

If you read The Rep's account of the meeting (Canton looks for ways to cut budget deficit) held at the Canton Civic Center this past Tuesday, you know that Canton is facing a nearly $3 million deficit when the clock strikes midnight on December 31, 2009.

City officials say that they have cut $1.2 million (leaving $1.8 million to be cut) and are looking at ways to cut more.

Here's a list of what they are looking to cut:

Dismissing 15 cadet firefighters, $153,000
Furloughing management types one day a week, $16,500
Furloughing all non essential employees one day a week $168,000
Limiting city cellphone and vehicle use $5,000
Increasing health premiums for non-union city employees $46,480
Cuts in the operational costs of the mayor's office $25,250

The total?


The remaining deficit?

$1.4 million

Doesn't make much of a dent, right?

So what is left to be done?

You've got it - RAISE TAXES!


Let's go to another Repository article: Canton officials discuss raising income tax rates (Ed Balint, August 26th).

Everyone knows that it can be instant political death for a politician to out-and-out advocate for a tax increase. Stark County commissioner Todd Bosley may become a casualty next year because he was a front and center proponent of "imposing" (which the commissioners did) a .5 of a percent sales/use tax increase to build general fund revenues and to fix the county's broken 9-1-1 emergency dispatch system.

So Schulman, perhaps a tad more politically suave than Bosley, approaches advocating a tax increase by denying that he is for a tax increase BUT it is something to talk about. After all, "everything has to be on the table."

Here is how The Rep's Balint characterized Schulman's position:
But Council President Allen Schulman says the city should explore a modest and temporary increase of its 2 percent income tax strictly as a last resort and as one of many options to climb out of the city’s budget hole.
Mayor Healy (an arch enemy of Schulman's) and most likely the reason Canton is in a budget crisis, gets coy and cute.

The SCPR believes that in reality Healy wanted to immediately go to Schulman and give him a big hug and kiss.

However, one maintain his dignity and political appearances.

So Healy says he is against a tax increase.

Here are his exact words:
“There’s been no conversation, no consideration whatsoever in reference to a tax increase at this point, I just think the recommendation of a tax increase is just a sign of being out of touch right now, and is just the last thing the people of Canton need.” We have an income tax right now, (and) we know what it generates. I haven’t even wasted 10 seconds on this.”
You've got to be kidding Mayor Healy. "Out of touch," who is more out-of-touch than Healy.

So the SCPR believes that his reaction is "phony-baloney" and, that has far-fetched (Schulman/Canton City Council and Healy working on anything together) as it might seem, a tax increase has been considered in the inter recesses of city government and Schulman bringing it up in an politically oblique fashion is likely some kind of grand plan formulated in the back rooms of City Hall to see how the idea flies when it hits the streets of Canton.

As we all know, "politics makes for strange bed fellows," especially in the context of the financial crisis that Canton currently faces.

Schulman dances all over the place as if he is dancing with a "hot" potato rather than a delightful lady.

Balint does a beautiful job "undressing" Schulman's game by allowing the Council president to ramble on:
Schulman said the city should examine the possibility of a temporary income tax increase that would expire or “sunset” after a specified amount of time and not be permanent. Income tax revenue is the largest single funding source for the city’s general fund, which supports the police and fire departments and the offices of elected officials and other city services.

Schulman said Wednesday that he’s not advocating an income tax increase. Schulman said he posed the question to find out “whether that could be one of the remedies they could look at to cover these enormous deficits.

“Clearly, our people don’t need to be taxed anymore,” Schulman said. But “I understand that we have to do what’s in the best interest of the city irrespective of political consequences.”
"Irrespective of political consequences." Another "you've got to be kidding." Allen Schulman never does anything in the public arena with out considering the political consequences.

He may and has on a number of occasion made faulty considerations, but "the political consequences" of what he says and does is always at the forefront.


Good try Allen, but these balloons are not going to fly. As Law Director Martuccio reminded one and all. The people of Canton have to vote on this.

No trial balloon is going to fly in air that includes a 13% plus unemployment rate!

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