Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Save the Pond!

Well, just got back from casting my ballot at the school gym.  Voted for the most conservative candidates, straight on down the line.

I also voted “NO” on all the public questions.

There were three of them, and one received a fair amount of publicity around here.

It seems some group wants to renovate a local pond (where it is, I’m not really sure, but it’s “local”).  Alas, that will cost money.  And the easiest, bestest way to get money is to raise taxes.

A brochure was sent out about two weeks ago to prime our sympathies for the pond.  Two photos were placed on the gigantic postcard.  At the top was an idyllic, serene wildlife scene of Plato’s most perfect pond ever.  Below it was a post-Apocalyptic wasteland with man-sized mosquitoes hovering about very menacingly.

Save the pond!  The choice is ours!

The other side of the postcard assured voters that most households would see a monthly $8-$16 increase in property taxes over two years to fund the pond project.  So, assuming my house is an average of the average, that’d be $12 x 12 months x 2 years, or a total of $288 to create the most perfect pond ever.  Surely even I can afford that, right?

I’m not convinced.  First, I doubt that initial figure.  Just like cereal box serving sizes, “average” ain’t “average.”  According to my annual property tax assessment, I appear to live in a mansion.  So, instead of the $8-$16 range, I’m taking the high figure and doubling it: $32 a month.  And since government never does anything efficiently and on time (at least since the construction of the George Washington Bridge, over 80 years ago), I’m conservatively doubling the time frame to redo the pond.  So now my formula is $32 x 12 months x 4 years, or $1,536.  That’s a 533% increase in what the postcard says, and I think it’s realistic.

But that’s still not why I vote “NO” on these sorts of things.

I vote “NO” because once a tax is in place, it never goes away.  NEVER GOES AWAY.  It’s not phased out; it’s simply reassigned.  Well, now that the pond is renovated, surely we need to keep the tax in place for “maintenance.”  And if that doesn’t justify keeping it, then it will be for “much needed expansion.”  Or even for other pressing “future pond projects.”  It will never end once it’s created.

Go raise the funds privately, and set up a brick donor wall somewhere on the shore.  That’s the free market, private enterprise solution.  And that will work, because that’s efficient.

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