I read an interesting statistic today. According to a report released last May by the Federal Reserve on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households, in 2022, about 37% could not pay for a $400 emergency with cash. That’s up from 32% in 2021.
Some economic advisors believe currently, that number has reached upwards of 46%.
According to a report in Fortune magazine, “The Fed found that one-third of U.S. adults received either a raise or a promotion in 2022 amid last years strong labor market.”
“The only problem is those raises weren’t enough for most Americans to keep up with inflation. Between April 2022 and April 2023, real average hourly wages fell 0.5% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the Fed’s latest survey found that “more adults experienced spending increases than income increases” in 2022 – 44% of Americans spend more, while just 33% made more.”
It’s reports like these that are why I’ve been so vocal on the St. George City budget. The Washington County School District just approved a budget overhaul that for most people increases the amount of tax we pay to the school levies and bonds, and locks that amount in for perpetuity until a future board decides to reduce the amount (which historically never happens). Up until now, the amount of tax we pay for the bonds and levies was a percentage of the value of our homes. When I asked about what happens when the next market correction occurs, I was told the amount is what is locked in, not the percentage.
Last August, the city attempted to raise the amount of tax we pay as a percentage of the value of our homes. That was resoundingly shut down by the citizens (in the end, the City Council voted 4 – 1 against the tax increase after the Truth In Taxation hearing). Now, we have before us in November a vote on whether or not to renew the General Obligation Bond. If accepted, this will bring in another $29 million dollars in Bond funds to be used “to connect trails, upgrade parks, and improve community recreation facilities in the City of St. George…” But, as I stated in my last post, THIS IS A TAX!!! They couldn’t get the citizen to accept a tax named a tax, so the city has brought about a tax on the back side under the name of a bond.
Tuesday, in a meeting with the St. George Lodging and Tourism Association, we, as candidates, were asked if we support spending funds on maintaining our parks and trails, and whether we support the General Obligation Bond. I stated rather clearly that I supported maintaining our parks, limiting building new ones (the children of the Desert’s Edge community need a park). I also stated that this could be achieved without the General Obligation Bond, but with properly allocating funds with the current city budget.
We are taxing our seniors on a fixed budget, and our lower income families out of the city and county. Nation wide, job openings have declined significantly in the last year, according to reports from several recruiting companies. We, as a city, need to change directions.