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No-Win Options For Miami Mayor
Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2011
Last week the voters in Miami recalled the mayor. Unlike some city leaders who leave office because of corruption or sex scandals, Carlos Alvarez was run out of office because he supported raising taxes.
Throughout the recall campaign, the embattled mayor maintained that the tax raise was the only way to fill a $444 million budget gap without cutting major services. Opponents were angry at the tax rate increase as well as a salary raise for public employees.
Two things strike me about this vote. First, the recall was heavily funded by a billionaire car dealer who said the voters were “tired of unaccountable officials, of being ignored, and of being over taxed.” It is troubling to witness an increasing number of elections swayed by the personal assets of one or two individuals.
My second concern is the message this sends to public officials who are struggling with difficult choices, and are forced to either generate revenue or cut spending. This could have a chilling effect on the moral and political courage of our elected officials.
Alvarez, who was ousted with 88% of the vote, is the first local government official of a large metropolitan area to be recalled. Given the current impossible budget choices, it is unfortunate to realize he may not be the last.
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