Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is the City of Mason Biting the Hand that Feeds with new Addmission Tax?

Guest post contributed by Corby Samson, concerned resident of Mason and CAAST reader.

Kings Island has attracted millions upon millions of visitors since it's grand opening in 1972. The Beach Waterpark right across the street is also a huge draw. These two tourist attractions just 30 miles north of Cincinnati became so popular that they drew in the construction of the Great Wolf Lodge, a massive hotel and indoor waterpark resort which became yet another tourist attraction and successful business in the area. Together, these companies have helped spawn massive amounts of economic development and tax revenue over the years for Deerfield Township. Those benefits were passed on to Mason when the entire Kings Island property and much of the surrounding area was annexed by Mason in 1999.

So you have three major tourist attractions in your area, one of which (Kings Island) has basically been the catalyst to your city's rapid growth and success (Kings Island itself was nothing but farm houses before it was constructed) since it's inception in 1972 and you want to tax them even more? That's exactly what the city of Mason wants to do. To be fair they've been discussing it for years, but just recently actually made some progress on it. The only reason they haven't voted on it is because not all of their council members were present at their most recent meeting.

Now, Mason wan'ts even more! Councilman Tony Bradburn tells the Dayton Daily News:
“There are expenses related to that number of people [the visitors to the taxed amusement facilities] and I believe those people should help pay for it, rather than the citizens of Mason subsidizing their operation.”
Bradburn is calling for a 3% tax on admissions and a 5% tax on parking facilities.

Now, pardon me, but someone here is getting greedy. These business owners and their amusement properties already pay taxes to Mason and even all of their employees, regardless of where they live, get taxed on their paychecks by the city. Kings Mills Rd., the main thoroughfare in front of Kings Island, the Great Wolf Lodge, The Beach and countless other businesses is currently being repaved and reconstructed by the Ohio Department of Transportation and funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, not the city of Mason. While Mason does provide fire and police services to these facilities, they're already taxing these properties once and every single one of their employees, how much more could they possibly need?

This nation is in an economic downturn. Kings Island is the backbone of the Mason economy and places like amusement parks are feeling the downturn too. Now, in spite of this, the city of Mason wants to tax these businesses even more and drive their ticket and parking prices up (both of which mnay readers will agree are already too exorberent for the average family), which could turn off even more visitors who are already being choosy with where they're spending their money in the current recession.

Is the Mason City Council really this stupid?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Victory over Issue 9. "You Can't Stop Progress!"

Gordon Bombay over at Queen City Discovery covered the victory party pretty well, but where do we go from here? Issue 9 wasn't just defeated, it was soundly and decisively turned down by the voters 56 to 44 percent. So to Chris Finney and Chris Smitherman, the two men who tried to derail this city via a deceptive charter amendment, I dedicate this song to you:

"You Can't Stop Progress"
by: Clutch

While Chris Smitherman ignored the voters decision and already began pledging another charter amendment for the next year, I hope COAST treasurer Mark Miller makes good on his promise to 700 WLW radio host to Bill Cunningham. You know, the one where he said if Issue 9 loses "COAST has to shut up and go away." Although Chris Smitherman is not a member of COAST, the good folks over at our rival group should remind him that the voters have spoken.

Mr. Smitherman, just in case you ever happen to read this, I'd like to remind you: You were voted off of council after one term, the voters flat out and decisively rejected your bogus Issue 9 charter amendment, your fellow NAACP members want you impeached and your attempt to confuse voters and then blame it on the opposition backfired and left you looking like an idiot. Take a hint, Chris. Cincinnati has placed it's faith in democracy and it's elected officials, not extermist goons such as yourself.

Bill Cunningham said it best: "Smitherman's a clown."

Cincinnati, way to stand up against the antiquated, stupid thinking of people like Smitherman and COAST, way to stand up against Issue 9! Let's keep Cincinnati moving forward! You can't stop progress! We proved Mark Twain wrong for once...

Let's keep the momentum going: Let's Make Cincinnati A Better Place to Live!

P.S. Thanks to everyone who came by to say hi and wore a CAAST sticker proudly. It was nice to meet so many of you and this has been a great experience defeating Issue 9.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Issue 9 "Deserves to Fail." Help Defeat This "Poison Pill" Tomorrow!

What's there to say that hasn't been said? Tomorrow is election day and voters all over the nation will be heading to the polls to cast their votes for a wide plethora of candidates and issues. Here in Cincinnati, we will have the opportunity to vote on the incredibly deceptive and poorly written Issue 9. Backed by a special interest group and Chris Smitherman, who even admitted his own charter amendment was "political corruption," Issue 9 seeks to slow down Cincinnati via referendum. This referndum voting process is a political tool commonly used by special interest groups like COAST and completely undermines the foundations of representative democracy, which is exactly why our founding fathers didn't put a direct democracy in place.

Whether you like the streetcar or not, it's very important for the future of this city that Issue 9 fail as it not only affects every passenger rail expenditure, but the poorly written ammendment via it's own wording will affect the righ-of-way's of roads, sidewalks, everything! This kind of hastily written, poor referedum will undoubtedly be tied up in litigation for years to come and only serve to slow down the city. The Cincinnati Enquirer has called this ammendment a "poison pill" for the city and have declared that Issue 9 "...desrves to fail!"

The quote in the masthead of this blog is often attributed to Mark Twain, but it's not certain exactly who said it. Regardless, it's infamously popular and somewhat true in Cincinnati. "When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always twenty years behind the times." Antiquated, stupid thinking has kept us "twenty years behind the times" on more than one occasion in the past. Now, today, amongst great progress, special interest groups seek to cripple the city via undemocratic referendums. Tomorrow, we can say no to that! Tomorrow, we can stand up for proper democracy in Cincinnati. Tomorrow, we can keep moving forward!

For a complete list of the vast, numerous organizations and people who have come out against Issue 9 and the very few who have come out in support of Issue 9, please visit this link. Cincinnatians from all different cultures, backgrounds, political leanings and neighborhoods are coming out against this deceptive and misleading special interest amendment. You can take a stand too!

Thank you for taking the time to visit and read the CAAST blog these past few months and remember to do you civic duty tomorrow, get out there and vote!

Tairy Greene
Founder, Citizens Against Antiquated, Stupid Thinking (CAAST)