The Mayor of Richmond Levar Stoney earful from Reva Trammell City Council moments after proposing tax increases to improve schools and public infrastructure.
"Mayor, you said you did not raise taxes when you were running for a mayor," Trammell said during a meeting on 6 March. "How can you stand up here, and before we all do this with the people?"
Stoney did not answer. We put the fingers of our Flip-O-Meter to find out if he has changed his job regarding tax hikes.
Stoney is calling on the council to increase the rate of Richmond's real estate tax by 9% which would add $ 1.29 per $ 100 of assessed value. He also wants to impose a 50-cent-pack cigarette tax. Richmond, home to Altria's global cigarette manufacturer, is the only major city in Virginia without a cigarette tax.
The increase in the real estate tax rate would generate $ 21.1 million for the budgetary year starting 1 July, and the cigarette tax would create $ 3 million. In addition to the tax notice combined with $ 24.1 million, Stoney hopes that $ 22 million comes from rising real estate assessments.
With the approval of the council, Stoney would spend $ 18 million of the new money on public schools programs and $ 19 million on infrastructure.
In 2018, Stoney convinced the council to raise the Richmond 6% meals tax at restaurants to 7.5 per cent. This generates $ 9.1 million per annum to refurbish and replace falling school facilities.
We asked Trammell proof of her claim that Stoney said, during his campaign in 2016, that he would not raise taxes. She said she had not remembered a special occasion but, perhaps, he said during her presence in the 8th District of the town in Southside Richmond. We couldn't get a recording or news story on that occasion.
Diving through records and newspaper stories from the campaign shows that Stoney's tax position was consistent, mostly. His view of the stock was that, while the city needed money for schools, it was a last resort – rather than for cigarettes -.
"Before we reach that stage, have we all exhausted?" He said in Question and Answer 10 July 2016 with Richmond Times-Sent. "Have we fought for our fair share of the state government? Are we working with the federal government to bring dollars back to Richmond, and to find out those humanitarian dollars … to help our situation we have not done this.
During an interview on WTVR TV in September 20, 2016, Stoney said, “I have no plans to raise any taxes. At present we have a swollen city hall, we have over 4,000 employees in City Hall. look at some cuts and you have to look at making a tougher ship, but I think you have to find ways to be a bit more creative about our dollars. "
During Q&A in September, 2016 with the Times-Dispatch, Stoney said that the city must improve its efficiency in collecting existing taxes "before we start raising taxes, before we have that discussion." .. "
We came across one case, however, when Stoney abandoned his routine and promised not to raise taxes. He came during a "lightning round" debate of his October 17, 2016, when Stoney and his fingers were asked to answer questions in five words or less.
"Would you like to raise taxes?" asked the moderator.
Stoney replied one word: "No."
After taking office on the last day of 2016, Stoney appeared to have had tax increases, but he did not need to be on real estate. The Times-Dispatch reported on 1 March 2017 that its political activity committee had voted Richmond's inhabitants whether they would support tax hikes.
During December 24, 2017 C&A with the Times-Dispatch, he said that everything on the board, to raise school funds, including a plan to increase taxation.
While he recommended that the meals tax rise on January 22, 2018, Stoney said, "In the past year, I have said that there is nothing to be done to meet the critical needs of school facilities."
But on 17 October, 2018, Stoney dismissed the call from Richmond School Head Jason Kamras on a 10 cent rise in the real estate tax rate. According to the Times Dispatch, Jim Nolan – spokesman Stoney – said Kamras was not taking the mayor before he made the call and there are no plans to increase the real estate tax recommendation. "
Is Stoney's smear on without raising taxes?
Stoney was very much responsive to every time he was asked about increases when he was running your fingers and during his first year in office. While Richmond needed more money for his schools, he said that raising taxes – rather than cigarettes – was not the last resort, unless government efficiency efforts emerged.
Mainly, Stoney remained consistent. It took a number of steps to streamline services and improve revenue collections before proposing increases in meals tax last year and real estate tax this year.
We got one time, however, when Stoney strayed into his script. During a "lightning round" of a mayor debate three weeks before the 2016 election, candidates were asked to state in five or fewer words whether they would be raising taxes. Stoney said “No.
Stoney's response does not come to the "Read my lips" but you do not need to raise taxes made by former President George H.W. Bush in 1988 – not to be broken. On our knowledge, Stoney has never reaffirmed the new single tax commitment. And his commitment came in response to a question which was asked in a way that did not leave his normal response conditional.
But Stoney said "No," contrasted with many other statements about tax retention increases. So, on the whole, we think this is a Half Flip.