Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Morning Wooten

Reasonable Jim returns and I'm glad for it. Doesn't mean we're going to sip lemonade on the porch and speak only kind words.

Instead of cribbing his essay as usual, I will summarize that Jim argues the so-called "commuter tax" bandied about at the last Mayor debate would have a deleterious effect on the city of Atlanta.

And he may be right. He might also be wrong. Any tax has the potential for well intended consequences leading straight to hell. It's an issue that deserves scrutiny.

But where Jim misses is the lack of advocacy for any solution. He poo-poos Atlanta's constant begging for revenue without acknowledging the city has no choice.

MARTA needs to shift funds to operating expenses and the legislature gives them a flat out "hell no". A 100 year old sewer system needs repair and the cost will be equivalent to 1/5 of the entire state budget, yet the 400,000 odd citizens of the city core are expected to float it alone. Grady, mercifully, finally got meager assistance from the state house but only after the sane stared down the possibility of Georgia having fewer trauma centers than Mississippi.

No doubt, some of these wounds are self-inflicted. As I wrote two years ago, the arrogance of the Fulton County Commission and the Atlanta City Council has not helped and the part played in spawning the chimeras known as Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton managed to make things worse.

However, donut politicians like Rep. Earl Ehrhart play a part in this scab picking by screaming "incompetence" while refusing to acknowledge the greater good Atlanta has provided.

It is time for all to acknowledge that we are Atlanta. Without Atlanta, there is no Suntrust building, no 191 Peachtree, no Bank of America tower, no High Museum, no Turner Field. Without the stretch of the soaring skyline down to the tree-lined neighborhoods, we have no identity.

Vision changed an isolated railhead into a town, an old airfield into Mayor Hartsfield's dream of an international hub, a regional city into a destination for Fortune 500 headquarters. We are the realization of Henry Grady's "New South" and we must cling to this vision lest it be cast on to the dross heap of petty politcs and nihilistic nabobbery. We must do this because we are all "Atlanta".


Sara said...

Wooten also didn't mention that one of the candidates, Kasim Reed, made the exact same arguments he does that commuter taxes or parking taxes would lead to jobs moving outside the city limits and would further diminish the city's tax base. It's not really fair for Jim to imply commuter taxes were the "consensus" position acceptable to all of the candidates, when the guy in second place said it was a bad idea and that he would oppose it. Link

In fact, as that article notes, the only candidate who stated outright support for a commuter tax was Kyle Keyser. Borders supported a parking tax only, and Norwood had some sort of vaguely amorphous idea of a commuter "tax" through reduction of state funding to commuter communities and greater state funding to Atlanta.

Rusty said...

We are an inconvenience that blocks Northsiders' access to the airport according to Oxendine.