Conservative News & Commentary

Jan 31, 2012 — by: P. Henry
Categories: Economics, Government

Saturday's paper's headline read “$4.2 million levy for jail” If it wasn't so predictable and so sad, it would be laughable. A tragic comedy if you will.

The county's Public Safety Task Force spent countless hours over several months to come to the only logical conclusion they could reach: recommend raising taxes to solve the budget shortfall for the jail. I could have told you that would be their recommendation on day one. It was like betting 21 black when that is the only number on the roulette wheel.

The problem lies in not the task force per se, but the rules in which they were constrained. Their mission was to find more money for public safety. So given that, what do you think they were going to do?

Think of it this way. Suppose a person went to a financial advisor and said, "I need more gas money. Gas prices are higher and I can't afford to use my car to get to work without running out of money before my next paycheck. Help me." The advisor nodded and responded by asking to look at the person's budget and probe a few places to see where gas money could come from. The advisor asks, "How often do you eat out? How often do you go to or rent movies? Do you smoke or drink, and if so how much? What about your clothing budget, how much do you spend on clothes each month?"  Instead of cooperating with the advisor the person responds, "Listen here pal! I just want you to find money for my gasoline budget. You can't take money from anywhere else. All other budgets are off limits. What I spend there I spend there. Your job is to find me some more money for gasoline." Since being more efficient and prioritizing how current money was being spent is not an option, the only available option the advisor could give is to get another job or sell some items in the short term hoping gas prices fall.

Seems silly, but this is exactly how the Public Safety Task Force was supposed to operate. So why would we even think they would recommend anything different?

This is insanity

The premise of this entire exercise is that all government money is well spent. Not one dime is ever waisted. All dollars are perfectly allocated as is. All specially allocated money to museums and libraries are completely off limits. With the library the foundational principal is that they spend all $2.5 million of their revenue in a frugal and efficient manner. Really? Where's the proof? Just because they make this claim doesn't make it true. I'd suggest buying two buildings in the South Suburbs (one of which is a tavern) to expand the library during a recession is an awful use of tax payer dollars, not an efficient use of them. You've got to be kidding!

So what we're left with is a task force that came to the only conclusion they could: tax our way out of the problem. We are not allowed to ask or probe whether the current use of tax payer money is being used efficiently. Instead the government just needs more. It always needs more. It can never do with less. On the other hand, we can do with less. Matter of fact, we must do with less. It is our patriotic duty to give up more of what we earn and own so the beast can grow and stay satisfied.

Therefore get back to work. The government will need more of your money soon. Just wait. It's only a matter of time.

2 Comments

  1. Brian Smith ~ Feb. 14, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

    Mr. Henry - In general I don't disagree with your writing, however specifically with regard to the Public Safety Committee's conclusion, you are 100% wrong. If you had seen the data we worked with and the contraints by which the taxes are managed, you'd understand that our recommendation was painful but correct. That said, it should only be a short term solution so that the contraints can be worked in and changes affected over the next three years. We found much inefficiency! We found where "library" and "parks" are being over funded and came up with ideas on how to fix those issues. All of our work is being "smoked-over" so the result can be politicized by different groups. The fact is we have a budget shortfall looming, a timeline that does not match our needs and tax laws and legislation that get in the way of progress, our recommendation lays a foundation for a comprehensive long term solution that if proven to be legal, holds promise to stabalize taxes, make operations more efficient and make our community safer. I welcome the opportunity to have a discusssion about facts, with anyone who cares to know what they are today. Regards, Brian Smith #
  2. B. Franklin ~ Feb. 14, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

    Hi Brian, Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. P. Henry's point was the only conclusion the committee could've reached was to propose another tax levy. Like you said, there were constraints outside your control, and P. Henry's point is these constraints made it difficult to go anywhere else. I believe there is more that could be done but it will take real political will power to get it done. Like you said the Library and Parks are over funded. Defund them. When it was even suggested, 20+ people showed up to protest such a terrible, wicked thing. So it was quickly ushered off the table as even an option. That is what I mean, real political will power could fix this problem. For example why is our county government giving out free birth control and money to pregnant teenagers? By doing so we reward their behavior and feel better. But that is not what the county government is for. Let families, communities and churches do charity. The government has a specific role and has gone way beyond its reach. Time to starve the beast so the real priorities for government roll to the top. #

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— Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1775

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