After a lengthy campaign, the Libertarians in Hamilton County finally helped Republican Council members re-discover fiscal conservatism and defeat a tax.
Fishers Town Council voted to not vote on the proposed 1% food & beverage tax tonight, effectively allowing it to die on the vine. It was curious that they chose not to vote. You would have thougth that they would have wanted to be on record voting against a tax.
Coverage from the Noblesville Daily Times.
The Libertarian Party provided the only consistent opposition to the food & beverage tax increases. Libertarians spoke out against each tax. These were considered and passed in Hamilton County, then Carmel, Noblesville, and Westfield.
Libertarians wrote several letters that were printed in the Noblesville Ledger and Daily Times. We spoke on WXNT 1430-am. We directed an email campaign to contact the Councilors. We led pub crawls that finally gave the business owners and patrons a voice. This has all been chronicled on this blog over the last few months.
All of the Councilors on all of these bodies are Republicans. We beat them up for being tax-and-spenders. Finally, one of these bodies decided it didn't want to get beat up on this any more.
This is the value of having Libertarians on the ballot. If we weren't on the ballot here in Indiana, there would not have been any opposition to the taxes. The Republicans created them. The Democrats, such as exist in Hamilton County, stood by silently, absently. They attended no meetings.
If Libertarians didn't show up in all of these places, this tax would have passed.
After Town Council President Scott Faultless gave a powerful speech in favor of the tax, I got up to speak in opposition to the tax, but also in support of keeping my Town great, and in support of Fishers' restuarant and tavern owners.
My main points were pretty simple, and followed from what Mr. Faultless gave me. He cited the #1 statewide ranking the Town of Fishers was awarded by Money Magazine. He also cited the Town's fiscal conservatism of the recent past. He meant this latter as justification that one little tax hike now isn't a big deal. My counter was that the high ranking and the low tax rate are not inseperable. If the Town moves away from what made it great and earned the high ranking, we can only expect that ranking to slip.
Mr. Faultless cited several other targeted taxes we have in Fishers- on tobacco, on alcohol, on hotel rooms, and on a host of others. Rather than having made the case that the trend justified extending, I felt that Faultless made the opposite case, that we sure do single out a lot of little groups of people, and that's unfair. The hospitality industry shouldn't be singled out to carry the tax load.
The ordinance included language that cited the fact that restaurants were subject to the same 1% extra tax, so adding it in Fishers wouldn't put our restaurants in a comparative disadvantage. I argued that by defeating the tax, the Council could instead put Fishers restaurants at a comparative advantage compared to those in Carmel, Westfield, Noblesville, and Indianapolis. I argued that the Town should always act in such a way to make Fishers more attractive to business, not less.
My arguments won the day. Of course, I was not alone. John Livengood from the Hospitality Industry spoke, as did Dave Dore of White Castle. Fishers resident Gregg Puls also spoke.