The Problem, My Dear Watson…
It is not hard to figure out we either have a spending problem or a revenue problem. It is that simple. It is not brain surgery or rocket science. If it were, we would be brain surgeons or rocket scientists.
When the economy was going great and money was flowing in due to increased property assessments and income tax due to low un-employment, we had a spending problem. Not many politicians could say no. Most wanted to please the citizens who wanted a bigger government with more government programs; and the money was quickly spent and not returned to taxpayers.
Some elected officials acted like it was a tough job to figure out how to spend your money on the long list of requests that was put before them by every department and organization you could imagine. They stopped caring about living within the taxpayers’ means and making sure that revenue met and matched expenditures. They just cared about balancing the budget, making as many people happy as possible, and not making sure it was structurally sound.
They put the vocal minority ahead of the silent majority.
Now, we are in an economy that has seen a major decline in property assessments, which – in turn – has generated lower property tax revenue for the first time in recent memory in Frederick County, and in other areas of the country.
We have seen increased unemployment which generates less income tax.
So, now the real work begins and tough decisions have to made – not how to spend money, but where to reduce spending. At least that is what is supposed to happen if we are going to live within in our means.
But politicians, instead, find ways to rob Peter to pay Paul, raid funds that are meant for another purpose, delay responsibilities, and raise fees or taxes.
You see, they have a spending problem, so they have to find revenue because – God forbid – we reduce spending, lay workers off and/or cut a program because the results would be catastrophic. Someone would die; children would be harmed or scarred for life; our quality of life would change forever!
A prime example is the State of Maryland. It has a spending problem, not a revenue problem; and it is one of the few states that is not reigning in spending.
Our governor has said this is not true and that is why we have a great bond rating. To his credit our Comptroller Peter Franchot fired back, saying it is because the bond companies know that the State of Maryland has no problems raising taxes.
I am not saying we are doomed. We’re just getting screwed time and time again by the liberals who run our state government, and who are digging a serious hole – like the federal government – that will be passed on to future generations.
Should we care?
Well, I care about the future of my children and am adamantly opposed to having this burden passed on to them. We hear about how this is the worst economic times since the Great Depression. Maybe on paper; but this is baloney when you look at all we have – and still have – in terms of social programs compared to the 1930s.
I am not advocating having Hoovervilles, dust bowls, and citizens selling apples on each street corner. Let’s also be real! There is a lot more that we can cut and we all can suck it up a lot more.
It is all about salaries, benefits and social programs. We must rein in the recurring expenditures and focus on the basics as it is time to return to personal responsibility and accountability and redefine the role of government.
Hold your representatives accountable – Democrat or Republican; and support those who are trying to straighten this mess out.