Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Public Till

We've lived on the Quarter Acre for about 2.5 years. Next week we are facing our third property tax vote since moving in. As a March 31 article in The Boston Globe states this month 50 towns in the Commonwealth are voting on property tax increases to cover shortfalls that will save libraries, teaching and police jobs and lifelong public employee 80% pensions.

At what point, we ask, will the government -- local, state & federal -- realize that they can't keep coming to the citizens for cash? At what point will we, the citizens, begin to demand that they stop? Last year 59 of 89 tax hike proposals were defeated in the Commonwealth. Perhaps the tide is turning, but the bureaucrats don't seem to get it and property tax-hike-proposals continue to flow to the electorate. We appreciate the opportunity to vote on them, but are indignant that the powers-that-be can't get their financial houses in order.

We understand the governmental tropes about rising health care, pension and other costs, but, at some point, things need to be cut in order to service those commitments. Decisions need to be made about what is truly important and what is not -- never an easy for a bureaucrat, but a daily decision for the taxpayer who is compelled by law to pay the taxes or else. No other "career" has such cushy bonuses and perks as does that of the "public servant" -- we're obviously excluding the UAW here.

We work in private industry, and we have no pension beyond what we save ourselves, nor will we have gold plated health care benefits upon retirement. Why should public service of twenty years equal lifetime comfort from the age of 42 until death? We think that the founders never intended for "public service" to be a career, and certainly never intended for it to confer a life-time sinecure financed by the public weal.

On the Quarter Acre we cut back in lean times, and moderate our expenditures based on cash flow -- we freelanced for a long time, so income was not always steady -- would that the government do the same. Alas, that will never happen because once an entitlement is granted, or a program started it must be honored in perpetuity. Hopefully, the voters of this state flock to the polls and defeat the latest encroachment into their pockets. We will be there, on April 10, casting our vote against all overrides in our town (there are two on the ballot) in an effort to keep more of our money where it belongs -- within our family, spent as we see fit, on things that we need, want and desire.

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