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March 29, 2012

Taxpayers Rebate! Itís the Prudent Thing To Do

Blaine R. Young

In 2008 in the United States, it was You will recall that this is the organization that took it upon itself to pass judgment on every candidate and issue that came before the voters of the United States to determine if they were liberal enough to deserve public office.


Its primary hero, Barack Obama, was elected President of the United States.


In 2012 in Frederick County, it is the Frederick County Teachers Association. They are now in the process of telling the voters of this county which candidates for the Board of Education are liberal enough to deserve election.


The teachers union has decided to make this year’s school budget its issue of last resort. It wants a raise for its members, during financial times in which very few of us are getting a raise, and most of us are happy to make as much as we made last year.


To compound this, teachers in this county have done very well over the last decade, earning approximately 60% more today than they did 10 years ago.


As I have said before, I love the teachers in Frederick County. They are – on the whole – a hard working, dedicated and industrious group, and do much for our children, mine included. But sometimes you can’t get everything you want, and unfortunately for many of us (including our teachers) this is one of those times.


That is not good enough for the teachers union. It has unleashed the forces they can muster to criticize and denigrate anyone currently involved in the fiscal 2013 budget process. And it has gone beyond the school system’s budget. Its minions are now attacking the county commissioners for the proposed $100 rebate to homeowners in Frederick County.


It amazes me to read the Letters to The Editor people are writing in which it is stated that somehow – because the commissioners are considering giving back money to the taxpayers that it doesn’t need right now – they are somehow “mean” and “heartless.” This is the first time in my life I’ve heard it characterized as being “mean” to give back something that was given to you, when you decide you don’t need it.


Let me see if I can put this into perspective. Say I am going to the grocery store, and I offer to pick up a few things for you. You give me a list and $50. I go to the store and I get everything that you need, but it only costs $40.


When I come by your house and drop off the groceries, am I now “mean” and “heartless” because I give you the extra $10 back? I think to do otherwise would be dishonest.


That’s all the commissioners are talking about. Because of decisions that have been made recently during budget hearings and discussions, Frederick County is now in the enviable position of having a projected surplus for the next fiscal year. In other words, we collected more money than we need to provide the services that the county provides. Doesn’t it just make sense that we give some of that money back?


Now, it is prudent to hold some of it for the proverbial “rainy day.” And that’s what is being done. The county is required by law to set aside five percent of its operating budget. But some of the surplus we have accumulated should go back to the taxpayers, and that is all that we have proposed.


Public employees in Frederick County, including our teachers, work for the taxpayers. Taxpayers work hard for their money, and willingly hand over a good bit of it every year to the government to pay the salaries of our public employees. Public employee compensation must be fair, and any decisions made concerning that compensation must be deliberated fully, openly and dispassionately.


That is what is going on right now, in spite of what you may read in various newspapers and social media. Taxpayers come first, because without them who is going to continue to fund our government at the levels that we desire? If they don’t pay their taxes, we would have much bigger problems than discussing whether the teachers should get a raise.


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