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Archive for June, 2010

Real People Like Property Taxes

People act like Swain County Commissioner David Monteith is from outer space. He proposed using North Shore Road settlement funds to give everybody in the county a year without paying property taxes and give county employees a 3% pay raise. Critics think it insane to appropriate principal from the $52 million awarded from the federal government as compensation for flooding a road to create Lake Fontana in 1943. Appropriating principal would require a favorable vote from 2/3 of registered voters. Monteith is viewed as trying to garner votes with empty promises because “nobody” expects 2/3 of voters to show up to the polls; and if they did, they would most certainly vote in defense of maintaining principal rather than sparing themselves property taxes.

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Sylva’s Vibrancy-Maker Can Spend More

The Downtown Sylva Association (DSA), a member of the NC Main Street Program since 1996, remains of questionable utility. The town’s budget passed on a 3-2 vote, with much debate over a $12,000 appropriation for the DSA. The DSA has received $12,000 to $20,000 from taxpayers in years past, as well as close to $10,000 from membership dues and $10,000 from private donations. The entity is supposed to make Sylva vibrant. It has a track record of supporting some programs while others fall by the wayside. People who believe in this extra layer of government would like to see a special taxing district set up to keep the organization operating.

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Stealing from TBA to Give to the Poor

Senator Richard Burr wrote a reply to a letter to the editor of the Asheville Citizen-Times explaining he is not an evil ogre opposed to government assistance. He just wants any new government handout to have a revenue stream; particularly, funds redirected from waste.

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Tax Dollars to Sell What the Market Won’t Buy

Apparently, there is now enough regulation that it requires an act of Congress to start a small business. Although the rush to socialism is evident, it is preposterous to suppose Congress is using Atlas Shrugged as its playbook. People still had 2nd Amendments rights in the novel.

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Priorities in Canton

It was neither the time nor the place to spend an underestimated $40,000 on filling a newly-created position of recreation director. Yet the Town of Canton’s aldermen unanimously agreed to do it. The motivation was public pressure. People wanted the aldermen to do something for children.

No funds were appropriated for new recreation programs. It was presumed the new director would help pay for his position by getting more people to use the town’s more-or-less abandoned recreational assets.

The position would be funded with a transfer from Canton’s fund balance. Town Manager Al Matthews has been recommending a tax increase to offset fund balance declines, but the aldermen were opposed.

On the bright side, the aldermen did not approve filling the vacancy created by the retirement of the town planner.

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Same Old, Same Old

Fiscal conservatives, who work industriously to create wealth, weather financial storms well; until the profligate progressives, who want to party and spend, get hungry enough to maraud. JLF President and Chair John Hood today said this of developments with the state’s attempt to balance its budget:

Legislators have reportedly reached a budget deal that includes, among other things, stealing money from charter schools — perhaps even retroactively.

After all, we do need more and higher-paid administrators to administrate other administrators while kids fight and get stoned in the public schools.

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Providential Living Works

Surely everybody saw ARRA stimulus for the seduction it was. Only the naive would fall for the classic snare: Give people money they don’t need until they expect it. Then, take it away and watch what they’ll do for a Klondyke bar. Somehow, a lot of people in government missed this lesson in their psychology classes. Many states built the extra, albeit proverbial, something-for-nothing into their budgets. And, as expected, government is yanking their strings.

You will recall how our federal government cares. It wants to create jobs and provide universal healthcare under a host of different names. So benevolent is Congress, it is, as predicted, now threatening to withhold those two entitlements in order to jerk the strings of its ensnared dependents into dancing in whatever way pleases the puppet master (e.g., promoting greater transfers of power to the government by waving your fingers in the air and saying, “This is exciting!”).

Once again, those who embraced a fiscally conservative philosophy are maintaining an even keel through the storm, as well as their dignity and freedom not to dance the embarrassingly silly dances. With tremendous kudos, I copy the words of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

“We assumed conservatively that there would not be a bonus check,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told The Associated Press. “It would have never entered our mind to put funny money like that into the budget.”

Daniels, a former budget director under President George W. Bush and a possible 2012 presidential contender, has won praise for his fiscal stewardship in Indiana, which has weathered the downturn better than most industrial states.

“Frankly, I think it’d be irresponsible of the federal government to borrow more money in order to bail out states that didn’t handle themselves very well,” Daniels said.

While not directly tied to state budgets, governors have warned that a denial of unemployment benefits will devastate families and slow the economy even more.

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Raising Their Thrones above Heaven

Why, lookie. Government is creating God-given rights. At least they didn’t make up this right.

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Disenrolling Fake Indians

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians will now require DNA testing for persons wanting to enroll as members. Persons on the roll who do not pass the test will not be grandfathered in. In 2007, the Falmouth Institute was hired to conduct an audit which has to date identified 353 impostors at a cost of $746,000.

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Grow Government; Ask Questions Later

Swain County accepted state and federal grants to help with the $27,000 salary for a new dog catcher position. An anonymous national foundation will contribute $7900 to equip the officer. However, there is no money to buy a vehicle for the officer or to build a shelter. Currently, if an animal is deemed by authorities to be potentially dangerous, they may get a decree from the health director saying so and requiring the pet’s owner, if it has one, to leash and muzzle or fence in the animal.

It is hoped that somebody will partner to pay for the capital improvements. Bryson City is a candidate because, although citizens are already taxed, the county could withhold dog catching services. The sheriff says his office receives about six complaints a week about threatening animals.

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