In 2004, the Naperville city council approved a 1% sales tax on restaurant food and beverages. The tax collected was earmarked for special events and cultural activities, hence the acronym SECA. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and it was. As with just about any good government idea, and there are a few, in the beginning it was used for what it was intended for.
However SECA is a classic example why government programs, and the taxes to support them, never disappear and go away. They just keep getting bigger and bigger until the purpose of SECA becomes its own existence by getting bigger and bigger. The tax created a huge chunk of money, cherished by the City of Naperville. The ‘want’ has now become a ‘need’.
Watch and listen to Naperville councilman Kevin Coyne’s position that SECA has ‘outgrown its purpose and design’:
The city of Naperville has a huge $6.8 million budget deficit and city officials began to address the issue at a recent city council workshop. The only city council member not to attend the budget meeting was Naperville council woman Judy Brodhead. Watch and listen to Brodhead as she clearly states that $2 million is a very small amount:
Brodhead has no problem spending money, especially when it’s not hers. Apparently she doesn’t think she needs to be held accountable for it. Fiscal responsibility has not been a strength for Brodhead. In less than two years Brodhead most likely will be running for re-election and voters will be reminded that she has no problem spending taxpayer’s money.
Now watch and listen to councilman Paul Hinterlong as he suggests keeping a lid on the number of events supported by eliminating a few of those events.
Every group needs at least one person who adds common sense to a discussion, and Kevin Coyne does exactly that for the Naperville city council. Watch and listen as Coyne suggests stepping back for a clearer view and looking at the budget first before committing to increase expense by adding SECA payroll hours:
This is not a time to be frivolously adding expense to a budget that is already nearly $7 million in the hole. The best thing you can do when you’re in a hole is to throw away the shovel. Somebody needs to confiscate Brodhead’s shovel. If it’s not now, the voters can do it in less than two years.
The vote was 6 to 3 in favor of increasing this expense. Council members voting ‘no’ to the expense were Kevin Coyne, Patty Gustin, and Paul Hinterlong. It looks like a few more shovels need to be confiscated.