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Wednesday, March 28, 2007 06:16 am

Davlin vs. Strom

A weekly look at where Springfield’s two leading mayoral candidates stand — or don’t stand — on the issues

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Mayor Tim Davlin
Untitled Document On taxes . . . Whenever Mayor Tim Davlin wants to make a point about his administration’s record on taxes, he trots out a bar graph showing that Springfield has some of the lowest municipal taxes of similarly sized central Illinois towns. His critics don’t quibble with those numbers; instead, they point out that in the past four years residents have seen a temporary sales-tax increase become permanent, the first installment of electric-rate hikes (34 percent over two-and-a-half years) to fund the new power plant, and another buck tacked onto their City Water, Light & Power bills to pay for new warning sirens.
Tim Davlin 
Taxing questions — With uncertainty looming over the construction of a second lake, the mayor’s not saying “no new taxes” this time around: “What do you do when you have 25 tornadoes, as opposed to only two, and it completely takes out our water system? What’s to say you don’t raise taxes and we need a new lake and our water rates go up?” Davlin asks. “What do you call that — a tax or a rate increase?”
Davlin’s no dummy — Why not consider even a small tax increase, given the nonstop demand for additional city services from aldermen? The mayor answers: “I don’t hear 51 percent of the people saying, ‘Raise my taxes.’”

Bruce Strom
Leggo your Blago — The day of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s budget address, which the mayor attended and during which the gov unveiled his controversial gross-receipts-tax plan, Ald. Strom tried to link Davlin with the unpopular-in-these parts governor: “I’m not surprised that Mayor Davlin was there cheerleading for Gov. Blagojevich’s historic tax increase.” Afterward, Strom called on Davlin to reject the plan as potentially harmful to Springfield businesses. The mayor, during a recent debate, agreed that the effects of the GRT here would be “devastating.”
• At least he can say he didn’t raise taxes — At the time the City Council was considering a temporary sales-tax increase in 2004, Strom offered an alternate plan that involved increasing the city’s sales-tax rate to 1.25 percent permanently and the telecommunications tax from 1 percent to 3.5 percent for one year (that measure failed).
Citizens decide elections. For this reason, from now until Election Day, we will let candidates explain in their own words where they stand on issues that matter to you. Let us know your issues. Contact R.L. Nave at rnave@illinoistimes.com
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