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COVID-19: A time for leadership

We are living in interesting times.  A time of unknowns.  It was a little more than 2 weeks ago when things were normal – Spring Training games were in full swing, tourists filled our Old Town streets, galleries and restaurants.  And many of us were planning our next trip to visit our parents, children or grandchildren. Today COVID-19 will forever be ingrained in our minds.  In a short amount of time we are faced with adapting to not only a severe health issue – we are facing a severe economic impact issue as well.  Scottsdale’s primary industry is tourism, and the cancellation of spring training is a prime example of adverse economic impact.  It is probably the single most important driver of winter tourism in the Valley.  The good news is that at least we got in half the season … Today’s reality is that we are in the beginnings of many unknowns.  The CDC and the Whitehouse declared a state of emergency and to avoid any gatherings of 10 people or more.  They suggested local governments close libraries, museums, senior centers and more.  Our schools are shut down.  The ripple effect of this is enormous and immeasurable at this time. This is when leadership matters. The City Council voted to continue any action on the elimination of the food tax to a future date.  I supported this motion because this is not a time to undermine our public safety personnel.  Our dedicated police and fire personnel are on the front lines of this Coronavirus pandemic.  They are risking their lives every day to protect our community.  It is not the time to undermine their ability to protect the health and well-being of Scottsdale citizens. At this time of great uncertainty, we must rely ever more heavily on our City’s first responders.  Today our Scottsdale City budget funds many items which will be essential during this time of economic uncertainty.  Today over 55% of our general fund budget covers police and fire.  To cut a tax in the wave of economic uncertainty is not prudent.  Rather than singling out one tax we should be considering a comprehensive plan to address the economic tsunami that is befalling our service-based economy.   We should be looking at refinancing some long-term debt, giving small businesses and our hotel service industry an opportunity to hang on by providing legal targeted tax relief to permit them to continue to employ people during this temporary slowdown. Cutting Taxes is unwise, imprudent and clearly out of step with what is necessary to provide leadership to our community during an economic crisis. Our service-based economy is based on serving others. Today those tourists are not here and will not be here for many months to come. Today we must take that service based ethic and begin serving our own community, our small business owners whose business may be in jeopardy, our hotel and visitor employee base that will be hard pressed to meet their monthly obligations, our citizens who are faced with child care issues and furloughed jobs. We must adopt an ethic of serving our own community now.   Its time we begin serving one another rather than our own short-term political ambitions.  It’s time to begin the hard work of governing like responsible adults who understand and comprehend the problem before us today.  It is large, it is devastating, and it is time to step up. That is why leadership matters!

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Co-Chairs: Ace Bailey, Jane Blacker, Jim Bruner, Paul Messinger

Paid for by Korte Scottsdale. Authorized by Virginia Korte.

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