Thursday, May 21, 2020

Ravi Bhalla comes clean: 'I tried to slip a 5% tax increase past the goalie'

Last night the Hoboken City Council declined Mayor Ravi Bhalla's request to increase taxes 5% on an interim basis pending the introduction of Hoboken's 2020 budget.

His request will be carried by the City Council for approval at the next meeting in two weeks.

Close observers recognize there's likely another double-digit tax increase coming on top of the interim tax increase of 5% when the full budget is finally introduced by the Bhalla Administration.

Ravi Bhalla points to losses of a million per month in tax revenues during the pandemic. This is in addition to the estimated $14 million some claim existed prior. The all-in figure speculated is roughly in the ballpark of a $20 million budget deficit projected for 2020.

The Hoboken mayor is pointing to his dialogue with elected figures in Congress for aid but there's no appetite in DC to bail out states and municipalities with red ink prior to the pandemic.

Mayor Ravi Bhalla let the Hoboken public know he had
tried to push through an interim 5% tax increase after the fact.
Media widely reported on the less than transparent action yesterday.

Talking Ed Note: Finally, Ravi Bhalla has come clean and admitted to at least part of the problem and his "secret Santa" request for a tax increase without any notification to the public. Does anyone believe former mayor Dawn Zimmer would have acted similarly?

Related: The City Council approved the elimination of the Constituent Office on second reading 6-3 reducing two positions there. Ravi Bhalla is going to veto it and force a delay with another City Council vote to override likely following in two weeks.

The Hudson County View covered that story noting 26 other municipal positions not connected to the mayor's office were eliminated without any fanfare from the mayor.