You probably have something to vote for today. If you do, go.
Today at the Springfield polls, the major issue is whether or not to approve a 3/4-cent sales tax to help defray a shortfall in the police-fire pension fund. Due to bad investments and the economic meltdown (among other complicated factors), the fund is $238 million short. This is money that legally has to be paid, and previous attempts to introduce a tax have failed. As a result, the city has had to make severe cuts to a lot of services, such as shutting down fire stations in rotating shifts and not hiring for vacant police positions. Which, I suppose, is one way of ensuring fewer pensions to pay in the future.
Of course, these drastic cuts still aren't enough to convince the anti-tax crowd that some kind of capital source is needed to shore up the fund. Or that any kind of tax is useful, ever. Not that anyone ever refuses the services, as far as I'm aware. Or has an alternate plan, apparently.
For the past few days, a local anti-tax group has blitzed the airwaves with ads, the central message being, "Vote no. Tell them we want a better plan."
What is the better plan? They don't know! Like most of today's conservative obstructionists, they haven't outlined an alternate plan that I'm aware of, and I've been following the issue very closely. My suspicion is, they don't have a plan, and they may not even care. Just as long as the tax fails, because taxes are bad, even if some very dire public consequences result from not having them. And, sadly, that attitude might just be enough for this proposal to fail. I hope I'm wrong.
It's funny how firefighters and police officers are such heroes to us, but we can't bother to support them with our hard-earned 3/4-cents. I'll vote to do so. Fire bad!