Who Pays for the Flowers?
Klamath County Commissioner Hukill announced building of a Veteran’s Long-Term Care Facility here in Klamath County as one of her main goals during her time in office. While this sounds like a noble project, let's take a moment to examine whether the idea is benefits the county or not. Here are a few thoughts:
Is a Long-Term Home for Veterans really needed here?
While a veteran's facility would be a nice feather in the county's cap and would bring people into the area to visit those who are in the facility, I wonder whether this should really be a top priority project that County government should be pursuing. I haven't seen any grass roots effort clamoring for such a facility. I don't see sick veterans lining the streets looking for long-term care treatment. Seems to me this isn't really a pressing need. I could be wrong, but again, this doesn't appear like something that should be occupying top of mind for Mrs. Hukill.
Is a recession the right time to raise taxes?
While I applaud the notion of paying for something ourselves (instead applying for a grant and expecting someone else to pay) is this the right time? One has to wonder during a recession when people are just trying to make their mortgage payments, their car payments or put food on the table, is another tax levy really what this community needs? If Klamath citizens were in the mood for higher taxes then the jail levy of a year ago should've passed without a hitch.
Once the facility is built it will be funded by the State of Oregon.
Whew. For a moment I thought for we were going to have to pay ongoing costs. But wait, the State is broke, struggling to balance its own budget. Therefore some sort of tax will need to be levied to come up with funds for ongoing costs and labor to keep this facility open. Hmmm.
Although I want to give Mrs. Hukill the benefit of the doubt, it's important to remember she led the failed bid to get the State Long-Term Veterans Facility here last year. Lebanon and Roseburg were selected instead. Her idea doesn't seem to pass the smell test during a political election season — and Mrs. Hukill is running for re-election. Therefore her efforts to try again and build a facility here seems to have ulterior motives
- This move makes Mrs. Hukill look thoughtful and caring. Something citizens like in their political leaders.
- This effort distracts people from the fact Mrs. Hukill's effort last time failed.
A Better Idea
Taxing the citizens of Klamath County to create jobs is a liberal idea that just transfers wealth from one group to another. Instead, Mrs. Hukill should be focused on how to create a business friendly environment. I'd much rather see tax breaks and loosened regulations in order to bring a major retailer or some other manufacturing facility to Klamath County. The beauty of this approach is that tax payers aren't charged any additional fees and private enterprise pays for the ongoing costs themselves. Moreover, real jobs are created as every private sector worker generates real wealth, not just the transfer of wealth from one group to another like public employees require.
I think we can do better. Instead of looking for the easy way out to "creating jobs", let's have our public officials lead by making this county more business friendly instead of government friendly.
- How Do You Create Jobs... Anyway? by Commissioner Dennis Linthicum