Shared Sacrifices

Three weeks ago, Mayor Turner said that he wants voters to remove a cap on property taxes so the city can deal with its budget problems. In other words, he wants us to give him a blank check. He wants to be able to raise property taxes without the restrictions voters previously placed on the city.

“Shared sacrifice means shared sacrifice by all,” Turner told the Chronicle’s editorial board. We have all heard this, or similar mantras uttered by those who promise a brighter future. But what does it really mean?

To sacrifice means to give up something that one values in exchange for something that one values less. And that is exactly what Turner is asking us to do. Turner wants Houstonians to pay higher taxes in exchange for…nothing. In truth, what he is offering in exchange is worse than nothing.

Rather than make the difficult choices and cut city spending, Turner wants Houstonians to bail him and his cohorts out. He wants you and I to pay more so that the city can continue its profligate spending. He wants the city to continue expanding its power over our lives, and he wants us to pay for that privilege. In exchange for taking more of our money, he is offering to also take more of our freedom. That is indeed a sacrifice.

Turner and his ilk want us to believe that if we give up the things that we value, then we will somehow be better off. But if all Houstonians are sacrificing, who will benefit? The answer is: those who collect and live off of the sacrifices.

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