In May, we’re being asked to extend a Food And Beverage Tax for ten additional years and give all the money but a small admin. fee to the Parks Department.
To be clear: the parks folks want to have more money. Fair enough, I can’t blame them.
But what makes more sense to me would be to use the Food and Beverage tax to support restaurants and their workers. After all, restaurant workers and owners have had a tough time since the pandemic and they collect the tax for the City of Ashland and get nothing in return. In fact, if they’re late to pay, they receive hefty fines.
If the City of Ashland put a measure on the ballot to use the Food and Beverage tax to build houses that restaurant workers could afford to live in–I’d for sure check the yes box. That makes sense. Every time I eat out, I’d think about how cool it is that I’m helping subsidize a roof over a person’s head who is serving me.
Direct and clear lines between how I spend my money and benefit is an easy thing to support.
I can take my grandkids to any number of great parks and trails in cities all over Southern Oregon and take them out to eat after, without paying a food and beverage tax. If those other cities figured it out, why can’t Ashland?
As of now I’m voting NO on the Food and Beverage Tax and I truly don’t say that to hurt anyone’s feelings. But trust me, the parks will not go away nor starve to death nor any such thing. They get most of the property taxes we pay anyway and they’ll continue to get more money from the city in myriad other ways.
Frankly, I wish they did more. If they offered concerts in the park and lively happenings on our public spaces, if they were fighting for the Community Center so we, the people, could use it for the important events in our lives-that would be a good start.
Saying No doesn’t make me on one team or another, it just makes me a person who wants to know the direct benefit of where my money is going and I don’t think spending it all on parks makes sense. There are streets and fire departments and police and housing and businesses to support too.
Giving all the money to parks seems unfair to me so I just can’t support it.