Sunday, May 24, 2009
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The reports and comments of the Newton County Board of Commissioners as well as robo-calls and Libertarian-leaning letters are missing the whole point of what it means to be a community. The persistent calls for no tax increases no matter what defies logic: if public funds are not available then our county budget must shrink to stay in the black. There is only one reliable source of county government funds - you and me, the taxpayers of Newton County.
Here is the tough question: How much and what kind of public services do we (taxpaying residents of Newton County, Ga.) want?
Do we want to keep the highest rating of fire protection (and keep our home-owners' fire insurance rates from increasing)? Do we want to keep the estimated 27 members of the Sheriff's Department on the job? If so, then you and I will have to pay for these services one way or another.
According to the robo-call, paying taxes is just the "government" stealing our money. That is a load of equine fertilizer! If you don't believe me then open your eyes and ears and listen and read what all of the county commissioners are saying. The Democratic members are attempting to work out ways of keeping as many public servants (people who work for us and whose salary we pay), on the job as possible. So far the Republican commissioners want to raise no additional funds to offset falling revenue and layoff as many people as it takes to balance the budget.
The basic belief of Libertarians, Objectivists and rich Republicans is that if you can't afford to hire and pay for your own fire, police, EMT, public works and so on departments, then you don't deserve to have these services.
I am not a wealthy person and I cannot afford to fund these services on my own, so I'm glad to pay taxes to hire public servants to do them for me. When I don't like what is going on I talk to my commissioner or the sheriff or whoever is in charge of the department that is causing me concern. I am not interested in throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
I've just received my property evaluation for this year, and it is about 20 percent less than last year. It seems to me that if I have to pay an increased millage rate, my taxes from last year will be about the same as this year.