from February 2012, Government
It pains me to watch the political process in Klamath Falls and Klamath County. I am constantly amazed how government always seems to be short on funding. It doesn't matter what the issue is, the solution is inevitably that government just needs a little more money. Add a fee here or support a levy there. If it is a bold measure then government officials will dare to call it a tax. Whether one is talking about Public Safety, Public Health, Education, Tourism or Economic Development — the solutions are always the same: government needs more money from those they serve.
The reason this mantra is repeated is not because it is the only solution a particular problem, but because it is the easiest solution. It is easy to say, "We need just a little more more money to fund programs X, Y or Z." On the other hand, it is far more difficult to say, "We will cut back on programs A, B or C in order to fund X, Y or Z." To sell the idea of raising fees, levies or taxes for the city or county is second nature to the masterminds and central planners. To them this thinking comes as natural as breathing.
Why does government get a free pass? Why doesn't government first need to show beyond a reasonable doubt that they are spending the public's money in an effective and efficient manner? For example,
Today (Friday, Feb. 17th, 2012) the Commissioners voted 2-1 to approve the drafting of a $1.8 million public safety levy. The commissioners were set to vote on Tuesday for a $1.5 million levy when a group came in and played an awful 9-1-1 call. The basic claim of this group was if just a little more money was spent on public safety, they could help prevent such tragedies in our community. Two of the three commissioners obviously agreed and added $300,000 to the levy.
Here's the problem. Our wants will always outstrip our resources. Some may want more policemen. Some may like there to be more libraries. Some may want for lower rates (funded by someone else) for their mortgage. Some may think they shouldn't have to pay full price at the gas pump. Some may think food should be free. Others might want discounts on all clothing. The wants of our society are endless. It's almost like the thinking of the little boy who once asked his dad, "Why do we have to have money? Why can't we just share everything?"
While a nice sentiment, the adult answer is obvious: there are always far more wants than resources. Always. Therefore there has to be some sort of rationing put in place. Liberals believe government is the best arbiter of such things. Government is "fair and noble" they claim. Governments can mandate pricing and then force taxes on group A to subsidize pricing for group B. Conservatives believe free market pricing is the most efficient and fair arbiter. Look no further than the controlled districts of New Your and San Francisco. The most expensive rent in the country and all brought on by liberal thinking of price controls on rent — supposedly to help the poor!
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."