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No renewal sends tough love message to Bossier City

Parents know that at times their children must face “tough love” – making them endure the harsh consequences of their actions, rather than bailing them out, in order for them to learn a valuable life lesson. That time has come for the people of Bossier City in regards to the unruly children that act as elected leaders for the city.

As is often the case, we’re to blame in part by indulging them. Despite some of them foisting a money-losing arena with our money on us, we reelected them. Despite more of them having the city build a parking garage that a developer would have and needlessly spending more of our money on that, we reelected them. Despite almost all of them taking our money and using it to finance partly a high-tech office building that stands more empty than not and has no hope of paying itself back soon if ever, we reelected them. And there are smaller unwise expenditures as well.

We keep facilitating them by refusing to curb their excesses, and that resulted in a massive budget deficit, back-breaking debt, and more problems to come in future years. Their problem is spending for no good reason on these shiny baubles only because they like so much the feeling of power and prestige that it gives them, overwhelming good sense that should have told them these were neither necessary nor wise, given alternative uses of those monies. So now the time has come for us to do our duty – even if it pains us – and to teach them a lesson.

This is why we must vote against the 6 mil property tax renewal dedicated to public safety salaries up this Saturday. That would create a $3 million or so deficit for the city, but it’s an action that might finally get through the thick skulls down at the city complex telling them correct priorities and decision-making are not optional, and that the means by which to right-size without the tax are available.

Of course, as would any rebellious adolescent Bossier City’s mayor and its city council might try to respond with spite by dramatically reducing police and fire presence, self-righteously proclaiming it’s not their fault but the people’s for rebuking their decisions. But as immature as they may be, children also act out of self-interest and to these elected officials their careers in office take such precedence that this is unlikely. They will realize that the repercussions of this will be laid at their feet and that any imperiled hopes they have of retaining office on 2015 officially will be buried if they pursue such a slash-and-burn course.

Instead, perhaps finally they will focus on doing right by the people’s money, with several months to do before the tax disappears. The best long-term solution would be selling the white elephants or their stakes in them and investing the money and/or realize savings in foregone principal and interest payments. Along with the $30 million or so intentionally banked by the city from gambling proceeds, these earnings will more than offset this budgetary hole. Perhaps less wise but workable would be dipping into the $30 million as no legal impediment stands in the way of that. These are real and feasible solutions, and statements by politicians that only draconian cuts are a response to nonrenewal are disinformation.

Had these politicians showed a little more maturity, maybe they would not have boxed themselves into a corner like this. Instead of proposing the renewal at the same 6 mils, they could have pegged it at the current 4.86 mils collected (about $2.5 million), or even been cut a little slack and let it go at 5. (Technically, this would require designating it as a new tax.) This would have shown willingness to being reasoned with, but, given their track record and lack of fortitude, it’s all too possible that if they get the renewal at 6 mils they’ll start collecting the entirety of it, causing a tax increase the concept of which at least some of them have cautiously broached. They have proven themselves untrustworthy before, so there’s no reason not to think they won’t again take advantage of the public.

Sometimes life forces you to grow up. Bossier City’s elected officials have lacked political maturity for some time, and it’s our duty to help them put away their dreamy ideas and get down to the hard and unglamorous business of governing effectively – of serving – with the people’s resources. Yes, there may be short term pain for all of us when we apply this tough love, but they will be better public servants for it and we will be better off as a whole. This sacrifice will be worth it if it triggers undoing of the mistakes of the past and it gets right the minds of those who have disserved us all too often. If we don't vote it down, we only invite the norm from these folks, and that is bad governance.


Bossier Homeowner said...

It's true that the city officials have squandered money, but I can't see punishing the police and fire departments as well as the citizens of Bossier by inviting layoffs within those departments.

Better to vote out those who made the poor decisions, I think.

Anonymous said...


Your dead on the money but the rank and file at the Police and Fire Dept. do not understand nor are allowed to not support it. If they do not support it they will be called down by the chiefs and singled out. The citizens have to take care of this problem in Bossier at the polls.