As many of my fellow citizens know, the tax levy on the May 7 ballot failed. As the Urbana Wins team (Justin T. Weller for mayor, Cassie Cress and Teresa Beverly for council) have been canvassing door-to-door, we have frequently been asked about our position on the current administration’s attempt to raise taxes.
While the Urbana Wins team is very supportive of the great work our first responders do and believe they need more funding, we were not supportive of the way the city leadership attempted to pass this particular tax levy.
Many voters we spoke with shared that they felt misled by council and the mayor. They were very displeased with the lack of clear communication and transparency about how the money would be spent and which funds the new money would be added to.
One of the reasons I am running for mayor is to completely overhaul the government’s communication efforts. We need to make sure our community has access to clear, transparent, and honest information.
The platform that my team and I are proposing does not currently call for raising the income tax. In fact, our proposed policies would cut taxes for businesses and eliminate more than $500,000 annually in government waste.
As our city looks to the future, our leadership must be held accountable. It is irresponsible to ask the good people of Urbana for more money when you cannot or will not explain exactly why it is needed and what it will be used for. Further, it is unreasonable to suggest more taxes are needed without first demonstrating that every penny that can be saved has been saved.
However, there is hope. We’ve met with so many amazing people who love this community and are eager for change. Immense challenges are on the horizon and we should ask ourselves, ‘when our government can’t even properly communicate information about a tax levy, are they really ready to lead us into the future?’
I know the Urbana Wins team is passionately invested in our city’s future. We must think about how the decisions we make today will affect us now, tomorrow, and in 2066 – the year I will reach the same age as our current mayor. Our citizens deserve leaders who will articulate and execute a strong vision so that Urbana can start winning now and for years to come.
Justin Weller is an Independent candidate for Urbana mayor in the November election. Voters interested in learning more about the specifics of his platform or who want to provide feedback are invited to reach out on social media, write to the website (UrbanaWins.com), connect by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in person.