Klamath County Commissioner Candidate Tom Mallams released a bold statement yesterday. Tom Mallams has pledged, "I will not raise taxes during my term.” You can read his full statement on his website.
This is a very interesting move, especially as the current commissioners are deciding how much to increase taxes for a jail levy. Moreover, Klamath City School's Board just voted to place another levy on the ballot this May. It seems that those who are publicly funded and whose budgets are now smaller think the answer to their finacial challenge is to use the power of government to grab more money for themselves.
But wait, where does that money come from? The citizenry of course. And where do the citizens of Klamath County get extra money to pay for the extra taxes? They don't. They are forced to sacrifice more of their private wealth for the for the decisions made by very few.
Why are there eight people running for County Commissioner and seven for County Sheriff?
It's like looking through a new deck of playing cards. Of course I'm talking about the seemingly record number of people running for public office. If you didn't know better, you'd think our community was filled with really public servant minded people. What a lovely community.
But, we know better.
There are many reasons people run for public office and far be it for me to assume I know exactly all the reasons why any of these people is running for public office. That said, there is one factor that can't be overlooked: our sad economy. If I told you there were three jobs available, two starting at either $68,000 and the other at $74,000, plus great medical and retirement benefits, plus a near guarantee of four years before your first review, prestige from many in the local community and offices in Klamath Falls, you'd probably say, "Sign me up now."
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?
There once was a successful farmer who provided the entire community eggs and pork. His business was thriving so he decided to build himself a nice shop where he could park all of his farm vehicles. It was something he always wanted to do and finally he had the money. His new shop was a beautiful building and very modern. He was very pleased with himself.
However, one day economic calamity struck the community and many people were not able to buy his goods and services. His revenues quickly dropped. Almost overnight the farmer did not have enough money to feed all of his animals to run his farm, including his guard dogs. The guard dogs were essential to making sure the coyotes and wolves did not eat his chickens and pigs. It took a minimum of 10 to do the job right. Without 10 dogs, his farm would be at great risk.
The community was angry because they knew the farmer had spent much of his savings on a shop for his farm vehicles. If the farmer had built a smaller shop or fixed the old shop instead the farm wouldn't be in this financial bind. There was nothing the farmer could do about that now though, and even if the town replaced the farmer, the new farmer would have the same immediate problem: how to feed all of the farm animals in order to provide the eggs and pork the community needed.
A lot of kerfluffle has been flying around about concerning the idea of "using Library funds to help with public safety" or other budgetary shortfalls in Klamath County. There have been some very interesting arguments for and against the idea.
Let me try to summarize the ones I've heard against the notion and then explain why I think the arguments for the idea are stronger.
Klamath County is facing a project budget shortfall of $1.8 million. The current idea on the table is to cut the budgets of every county department by 9%. While budget cuts are never a fun process, across the board cuts are the easiest way to deal with the problem — everyone feels the pain equally...
... that is if there isn't money somewhere else, hiding in plain sight.
The Klamath County Library's budget has increased from $1.5 million to an estimated $2.5 million during the past decade. This year the County Library is looking to expand its services by purchasing a building on the east end of town. One has to wonder in this age of the internet aren't libraries becoming less relevant not more so? If this premise is true, why are we investing more funds in a resource, libraries, that is less relevant while starving a resource, such as public safety, that is always important? Libraries are fun places to visit, but are they as vital as properly funding public safety?
Throughout the history of mankind, we've always had the rich, and we've always had the poor. What makes America different, what makes her special, is we have a third economic tier called the "middle class". Only liberty and capitalism give you this middle class. No other system of economics (capitalism) & government (representative republic) combine to do so. This combination creates this robust middle tier and allows all to move upward based on individual effort and drive. This system promotes innovation and betterment for all.
And this is exactly why we must stay true to the founders of our country and not follow the ways of our current president who sells us utopia but whose policies are moving us back to the world of a few rich, many poor and none in-between.
This will be a quick post, but an important one to help keep your cranium sharp. I'm going to use some logic here, so pay close attention.
Question: Will more water or less water be required if all four dams are removed along the Klamath River to meet EPA regulations for fish habitat?
We've all been preached the benefits of solar power: it's green, there's no pollution, it's safe, it's easy, it's affordable, it's.... wait a second. What were those last two? It's easy and it's affordable? Really? How can that be? One would think if solar power was both easy and affordable then we wouldn't need government programs to subsidize the cost of the equipment or the installation. Government gets involved when the cost is too high and the product too difficult. The government "gift" is to ease the pain and make the decision financially workable.
Two questions arise from this line of thinking. First, is this the role of government? By subsidizing solar, government is spending money on this that can't be used for something else. For example, instead of subsidizing solar panels, couldn't they be building fish ladders and improving dams along the Klamath to be more efficient? Government is picking winners and losers in the power industry. Again, is that government's role? Second, where does government get this money? They have three options: they can borrow it, they can take it from the citizens and for the Federal Government, they can print it. For the most part government extracts money from its citizens through taxation. Now let's put these facts together with solar power and how it amounts to citizen sanctioned theft.
by: Tom Mallams, President, Klamath Off-Project Water Users Association
KLAMATH OFF-PROJECT WATER USERS ASSOCIATION
October 25, 2011
I am writing this letter to inform you of a very disturbing public meeting I attended on September 26, 2011, in Chiloquin, Oregon. This public meeting was funded by the Department of Interior, through Upper Klamath Water Users Association,(UKWUA), Klamath Water and Power Authority(KWAPA) and Klamath Basin Power Alliance, (KBPA). The published intention of this meeting was to sign up “interested” irrigators in the so called “affordable power”, hoped for in the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement,(KBRA), and the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement,(KHSA).