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UPDATED: Flaherty charges Menino with forcing meal and hotel tax-funded "bailout" on city

The Michael Flaherty campaign took a swing at Mayor Thomas Menino this morning, issuing a statement declaring Flaherty’s opposition to Menino’s plan for a meal and hotel tax increase. Flaherty said that Menino “has failed to effectively manage the city’s revenue and spending.”

“This administration has not even begun to scratch the surface of the inefficiencies that have bankrupted our local government,” asserted Flaherty. “Instead of taking a hard look at where he can consolidate or eliminate programs and cut costs such as high-paid consultants, this Mayor looks for the fastest way he can get a bailout.”

Flaherty said he supports a system to gauge city efficiency and streamline the city’s spending. He says that managerial changes must be made before Boston’s visitors and diners are taxed more heavily.

UPDATE:
Fellow mayoral candidate Sam Yoon told the Reporter last week he supported the city having the option of raising meals and lodging taxes, but added that city officials should first focus on weeding out waste.

"That is something we ought to do before we chase new revenue," he said.

South End businessman Kevin McCrea, who is also running for mayor, wrote on his blog that he also opposes the tax increase. In a statement on his blog, he wrote:

"As I have said many times before, the city is not in a fiscal crisis, just a crisis of management. I am opposed to the meals tax increase that the Mayor is proposing. If, unfortunately, the tax increase is passed remember that the Mayor promised to have it offset the residential property tax. If he doesn't include that in his legislation, you will see yet another example of him saying one thing and doing another."

Full Flaherty release below:

FLAHERTY PROTESTS MAYOR’S LATEST TAX CALL

Challenges Administration to Better Manage their Revenue and Adopt Commonsense Solutions

(July 23, Boston) - Mayoral candidate, Michael Flaherty, expressed his opposition to Mayor Menino’s efforts to impose an additional tax burden on the city’s hotels and restaurants, arguing that he has failed to effectively manage the city’s revenue and spending.

“This administration has not even begun to scratch the surface of the inefficiencies that have bankrupted our local government,” asserted Flaherty. “Instead of taking a hard look at where he can consolidate or eliminate programs and cut costs such as high-paid consultants, this Mayor looks for the fastest way he can get a bailout.”

Flaherty is a strong and vocal proponent for implementing annual performance reviews to identify opportunities to run government more efficiently, trim wasteful spending and redirect funding to critical services. Performance reviews have effectively saved governments across the country millions of dollars. In the state of Texas, where performance reviews first originated, their first performance review generated 1,000 recommendations and $4 billion in savings and revenue in its first budget.

“If we’re going to have a discussion about how we can diversify our revenue, then I think we need to have a frank discussion about what this administration has done to make our government run more efficiently and with less money,” challenged Flaherty. While the administration has maintained during the budget process this year that it trimmed spending, they failed to provide any evidence that a comprehensive performance review has been conducted and that fiscal waste and abuse have been expunged from City Hall. In fact, under Mayor Menino, personnel expenses have increased by $416 million since 2004, including $220 million in pay raises, expanded overtime and new hires.

Flaherty acknowledges that the city should not be further burdening Boston’s homeowners with higher property taxes, but also maintains that the city’s revenue management strategies can’t unfairly burden resident diners, visitors and local small businesses who are dealing with their own challenges brought on by this economic downturn.

“I am very concerned about the implications of this Mayor’s “tax-before-manage” strategy will have on our ability to attract new businesses to our city,” said Flaherty. “We’ve already seen the Mayor try to handcuff our small businesses when he shut down negotiations with Sail Boston, which ultimately brought in a lot of visitors looking for a place to stay and eat. Had we left it up to the Mayor, our local businesses would have missed out on that opportunity to capitalize on a major special event.”

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Comments

...straight: Flaherty feels that before raising taxes (mainly on non-residents) the ciy should look into wastefull spending and mismanagement. That would ring a bit more sincere if it werent for his relationship with Local 718. Before you write the press release think of where you sit on such topics.