Atwater officials have been running tax hikes up the proverbial flag pole for years to see if voters will salute. So far, they haven't.
Years ago, the city implemented a utility tax, claiming without it, fire and police services would suffer. It didn't.
A few years later, the mayor proposed a 1 percent sales tax increase with the dire prediction that police officers would be lost without it. Voters said no and life went on.
Now the flag is up again with a proposed $1.3 million tax increase.
Before voters salute this deceitful flag, know this -- that $1.3 million will go to the general fund in an underhanded way.
That tax will go to public safety as promised. However, an equal amount will be withheld from the general fund in the second and subsequent years by not budgeting those revenues for public safety.
If there are Atwater taxpayers who like to pay taxes, their dream will come true this year, with increases slated for the water bill, sewer bill, sanitation fund and the state sales tax.
Piling on with a sales tax increase is regressive and will hit the poor the hardest. The last thing our fragile economy needs is to suck more taxes from working families.