As I was growing up, I learned that you should “hope for the best and at the same time prepare for the worst”. This conservative philosophy has served me well over the years and is currently benefiting Gibson City especially with the uncertainties we face every day as a country, as a state and as a community. Acting on this belief will benefit us in good as well as in bad times and will position us for future growth and prosperity when our economy turns the corner.
We are not an island, what happens outside our community does affect us. To put things into perspective I have decided to lead with my thoughts and analysis concerning government at all levels as it has a direct impact on our community and local economy.
As most of us realize, government revenues are going down at many levels while at the same time expenditures are going up. Unfortunately revenues will probably continue to go down. That’s the reality and it will take courage and creativity to make the right decisions concerning expenditures. Cuts may also have to be considered and it won’t be easy.
All government bodies at the federal, state and local level need to resist the temptation to increase taxes. They must control their spending and learn to live within their means if we are to survive and prosper in the challenging economic conditions we currently live in. Government entities need to be more responsible with tax payer’s money and quit continually sticking their hands out for more when budgets get tight.
Thomas Edison once stated “There is far more danger in public than in private monopoly, for when government goes into business it can always shift its losses to the taxpayers. Government never makes ends meet...”
It really doesn’t matter what the excess spending is for; if governmental bodies spend more than they take in they’ll eventually have to raise taxes or go broke. Raising taxes should not be on the table in light of the current economic situation we find ourselves in. Only our federal government has an exception to this; they have the ability to print more money. The downside to printing more money, also known as quantitative easing, is price inflation. The cost of everything will go up because the value of our dollars will go down. This hidden tax will rob us of our savings and quality of life if left unchecked and all of us should pay close attention.
Furthermore, it is a fact when governments lower tax rates, long term tax revenues go up. A good example of this relationship between taxes and revenues is when Pres. John F. Kennedy lowered taxes, revenues went up.
In a speech Pres. Kennedy gave in 1961 he stated, "It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now ... Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus."
New businesses and the jobs they provide will not go to areas with high taxes and existing businesses and people will migrate to places where taxes are more reasonable. It’s just plain common sense. Bottom line, tax hikes cost jobs.
A vast majority of us don’t mind paying reasonable taxes to support education, infrastructure, law enforcement, fire protection and other necessary services, but governmental entities must learn to differentiate between needs and wants. Tough choices will have to be made.
So, how is Gibson City doing?
The Council, department heads, City Treasurer and I vowed to run our local government efficiently and to be fiscally responsible with taxpayer money. As a result the City of Gibson continues to have a balanced budget, is totally debt free and in fiscally better shape than it has been for many years.
Because we are fiscally conservative, we are able to invest in programs like the “Buy Gibson City” program and at the same time continue to maintain and make major improvements to our infrastructure.
We recognize that our local businesses create local jobs which are good for our families and community. The council and I will continue to do everything we can to help foster an environment that will help our existing businesses grow and also attract new businesses. We are also looking at ways to encourage and help cultivate entrepreneurship as entrepreneurs will be an important part of our future.
If you’re looking for a place to start a business or relocate, look no further. Gibson City is the place. We have an industrial park, TIF districts and an Enterprise Zone. Please give us a call at 217/784-5872. Let’s discuss what we can do. We are truly a business friendly community.
Our future emphasis will continue to be maintaining and improving our infrastructure, living within our means and creating an environment that benefits our families, our businesses and the jobs they provide.
Mayor – Gibson City