The Davenport Promise  

Posted by LibertyCast in ,

Tomorrow, March 3rd, residents of Davenport, IA have an opportunity to vote on The Davenport Promise. This is absolutely a major deal here locally. This is a move to improve residency and educational incentive in Davenport without any prominent financial burden on its residents.

What exactly is the point of Davenport Promise then?

Well the goal is to provide a college scholarship to all Davenport residents of high school graduate/GED level regardless of what school they went to or what school they are going to. It will also give a home-buyers grant for returning military and increase public safety. All of this is to be done without increasing property taxes.

Funding will be through reallocating the Davenport one cent sales tax.

Current Tax Allocation:

60% Property Tax Relief
40% Capital Improvements

Proposed Tax Reallocation:
60% Property Tax Relief
30% Capital Improvements or Davenport Promise
10% Public Safety Investment

Anyone see a problem here? I see that we are now intentionally running this tax at at least 30% over budget overall with capital improvements running 10% under budget. Now understand this isn't the sole funding for capital improvements either so actual numbers are in reality less than a real 10%, but it is still be under budget. So with this, they state that other projects have run under budget and money can be pulled from there though nothing is intentionally allocated to this or labeled in any official manner.

Okay so they want to attract new people to increase real estate values and increase the population to invest into the community and the Davenport Promise Task Force Report states that years of disinvestment in our economy is behind the poverty levels and dropouts in our children. This is may be not a cure all but the right step for us to take to get back on track as the task force and city council have declared overall. Note that not all approve of this and one who has disapproved (out of numerous) is Alderman Bill Lynn.

There are so many potential issues with this and actual issues to start with, first being running the tax over budget. However, there are many what-ifs to consider here one being: What if people come in mass at first but then stop do to increased property values and tuition rates that keep rising? Okay so with this the investment for new people to move here and continue this project is not as great anymore, and let's say with that significantly less come here. Now we have less enrolling students to count on for government funding and assistance in our public schools requiring more money for that was less before. We will then also have many going out which we will have to fund for college and we have to get that money somewhere. With more people utilizing public roads and public resources we in theory cannot afford to cut capital investment funds later down the line so where will this money come from? Another problem with this is that being based on a regressive tax this will have difficult time balancing out economically as it does not account for inflation. An even other concern is the 10% to public safety. This will actually go to a general fund with the intention of use in public safety. So to the firemen and policemen of Davenport their may be intent, but there are no guarantees; no real promises. My fear is that this will end up as more play money for the city.

Where will any of this money come from in these situations? Well, March 24th there was a Davenport Promise Forum at the Red Stone Room hosted by the QC Times, where Davenport Promise Task Force Member Ken Croken stated, "If and when these things happen we will handle them." So they have no real plans for the future; only reliance on the predictions of one analysis done by one, Upjohn, Institute. If these things happen an unknown board not appointed will handle these issues. Well are these board members going to be credible for the positions? We aren't going to know as they haven't been chosen, and will not be till after the fact. Croken also said there were no guarantees for the future either in regard to promises made now. So essentially they will not raise our taxes now, but if push comes to shove (and they are confident they won't) it could all be broken promises for us.

These numbers I look at with Upjohn's report show that in a bad case scenario we could be as much as 2.2 million in debt by year 4, and yet their answer is basically that they'll get around to it. If this is some kind of protectionist policy for questionable future direction then where is the protection from our own solution? Note I am not anti-education, but how could I consider a policy that is meant for my children which could just as likely hurt them or even worse in the end? We already pay the federal government taxes which go to educational grants already such as Pell, and where this goes right in being non-discriminatory we are again seeing taxes go to this thing for up to $1000 more per year for what could be an even worse economic disaster. It should also be noted that it is rightly requiring 400 hours to be able to get it but unfortunately doesn't require a minimum GPA to maintain it. This altogether should have been treated with more profound care.

You can count on me voting no on this policy. It could possibly be worth considering, but absolutely not when it is so fiscally negligent. This is not worth it right now under its current state, and I cannot bear this massive cloud of potential burden on every other citizen of this town. For any Davenport residents please vote no. There are numerous scholarships and grants available, including Pell already present. President Obama even amended the Hope tax credit with the current stimulus bill, increasing the college tax credit to an annual $2500 (and even refundable up to $1000). We have other resources available so please vote no until the city is forced to reevaluate this and treat it more responsibly for us all.

Related Documents:
The Davenport Promise Task Force Report here.
The Davenport Promise CIP Impact Report here.
The Upjohn Institute Analysis Report here.
The Anti-Promise Presentation from NoMorePromises here.

Related Sites:
City of Davenport, Davenport Promise Task Force Information here.
No More Promises Anti-Promise Initiative here.

This entry was posted on Monday, March 2, 2009 at Monday, March 02, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


*UPDATE* It did not pass! 61% to 39% not in favor of the policy passing.

March 4, 2009 at 1:54 PM

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