By Michael Spence
May 24, 2010
Having been a taxpayer here since the days when I paid Alaska state income tax, I am as concerned as anyone by any abuse of public funds. I must however call into question the rationale of people who are ranting about the library, the pool, and the aquarium.
All of these projects are assets that benefit the community directly. All were approved by a comprehensive public process. Contrast this with recent years when the Borough was pursuing over 200 million dollars to fund a bridge for which there has never been a demonstrable need to the community. Sixty million of those dollars were spent without any bid process on roads that no one uses on Gravina island. The only vote on that matter was after the community was told they could not use the money for anything else by the unilateral central government in Washington DC. If those funds were community directed, the library, the pool and the aquarium would already be paid for.
Finally local government seems to be focusing on things that benefit its people directly, not just a few big political contributors. Bravo to the Borough for finally paying attention to the local taxpayers!
Tax activism is a great thing only if it is not misguided by political opportunism. One hears a lot about "Big Government" and "Socialism" in the anti tax rants, virtually all of it coming from people who drive on public highways, were educated at public schools, and frequent our national and state parks.
If you will excuse me for seeming un-American, socialism is part of government. The question is who should benefit the most from our socialism. The middle class, the poor, or the very rich?
The political opportunists are now standing in line to say what some tax activists want to hear. Just as did George Bush in 2000, right before he lead our nation into the biggest budget deficit of any nation in history. And so it came to pass that we experienced eight years of government being run by people who hate government. The facts are now clear about who is paying for THAT tax crusade, and the list of billionaires who benefited from it.
So to all you Tea Partiers and Pool naysayers: Start barking up the right tree. When your leaders start boasting about public money being used for "Economic Development", which is code for socializing the expenses while privatizing the profits, your antenna should be tuning in. Public finds should be used to benefit the community who pays taxes, not a few corporate bigwigs who happen to be sending lots of money to politicians and employing them when they leave office.
A strong local economy can be built by making Ketchikan a great place to live. It is the people of this community, and not a few corporate entities that come and go, that will develop its economy.
About: "resident and taxpayer"
Received May 24, 2010 - Published May 24, 2010
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