Sales Tax, Down In Flames
|Not in a whisper, not as a suggestion but in a very
loud clear voice, Loudon County residents told their commissioners, we
do not want higher taxes. Hopefully commissioners had their ears on and
heard the message. Even after being threatened by some local officials
with massive property tax increases if the sales tax increase didn't
pass, voters still refused to back the increase even though it was for
"The Children." By a 60% margin the voters rejected a half cent increase
in the local option sales tax. And if the voters don't want a half
cent sales tax increase, you can bet the farm they sure don't want a
twenty or thirty cent increase in their property taxes.
Some in local government tend to think the general public doesn't know what's going on behind the scenes with their tax money. Fortunately the public is a little sharper than government officials want to give them credit for. Voters aren't blind and their not stupid.
How on earth could local government conceivably try to convince the voters that they are deserving of more of our money when they have been so incredibly irresponsible with the millions of dollars they are already taking from us. To believe that higher taxes are needed, you must first buy into the myth that local government or the BOE are out of money. There is no tangible or circumstantial evidence more money is needed.
When commissioners and BOE members stand on their stump and make claims of government poverty with twenty million dollars in the bank, it's a little hard to swallow. How dare them ask me to make deeper personal financial sacrifices when they have blown three hundred grand on Arp's unnecessary office expansion complete with new furniture and columns. When the BOE willy-nilly spends an extra million for a piece of worthless property just because no one bothered to ask the owner the price of the property. When the BOE continues to educate hundreds of out of county students whose parents pay no property taxes in Loudon County. When the BOE has dozens and dozens more employees on the payroll than the state requires. And this list could go on and on and on.
The Loudon County Board Of Education has made one disastrous decision after the other and thus far has been able to get buy with it because they have so much surplus money to play with. Local government should teeter on the brink of being broke at all times with just enough money to pay their bills. Financial decisions made over the last few years by commission and the BOE once again prove that if government has our money, they will spend it.
When commissioners and BOE members can look the voters in the eye and tell them they have eliminated all the waste and cut out all of the unnecessary spending and there is not enough money to properly educate our children, then and only then, you will see the voters willingly agree to higher taxes. Unfortunately, we are millions of wasted dollars from that time.
Commissioners and BOE members need to do a reality check and remember, you were not elected to do what you think is best for your constituents, but to do what your constituents tell you to do. And in the matter of taxes your constituents have told you unequivocally not to raise their taxes. Remember, you represent the people, you don't decide for the people.