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Letters: Cancel City of Richmond tax hike to save 2021

Andy Hobbs thinks Richmond residents have suffered enough in 2020 without more financial hardship in 2021
City council candidate Andy Hobbs is urging council to stop short of increasing taxes for 2021. File photo

Open letter to city council, 

As city council looks forward to 2021 and establishes next year’s budget, it’s important to keep in mind that 2020 has been a difficult year for many folks who live and work in Richmond.

A large number of people have been laid off or have had their hours reduced. Their incomes are down and their finances are stretched.  They are stressed, nervous, and anxious for what lies ahead — especially with the second wave of COVID-19 well underway.

I would strongly encourage the mayor and council to freeze taxes for 2021. Rather than raising taxes, they could dip into our reserve fund, our collective “savings account,” in order to fund operations and hire additional police and fire personnel.

By doing this, we should not need to increase taxes for 2021 and we can maintain all our core services.

While I appreciate sound fiscal management, 2021 is not the time to burden the residents of Richmond with a tax increase.

We need to give people time to get back on their feet. A tax increase will be an extra burden on homeowners as well as on small business and renters — whose landlords will pass on the added taxes to them in future rent increases.

Savings accounts and reserves are set aside during good times for use when times are bad. Now is the time to take a relatively small portion from our city’s unrestricted reserves and use it to offset a property tax increase. We can replenish it when times are better for everyone.

Andy Hobbs