Article from Bill Bartlett 11-13-2007:
Especially Ashland liberals? This is a town that loves to tax itself. Proudly. Often racing to be first in line to suggest a new one. Ashlanders have never met a tax they didn’t like. For example, only City in the state with a meals tax. The two most recent, the Library Levy and the Ashland School Youth Activities Levy, did not consider for a moment things that those mean-spirited conservatives do. Basic, practical questions. For example, if fewer people use the library or the school district continues to have enrollment declines, why do they always want and need more money? Or, if fewer people want to ride the bus, why do we have to fund more bus riding? Of course, I know the stewardship value of public transportation, but the folks most likely to use RVTD are not green do-gooders, but folks trying to save up some bucks so they can buy a car and have more freedom like the liberals trying to keep them on the bus.
I found this excerpted article from the Daily Tidings typical of the if it feels good, tax it mindset.
“Community members met Tuesday night to discuss renewed efforts to fund affordable housing in Ashland through a housing trust fund. City efforts to create such a fund began six months ago with a community survey and research of other housing trust funds around the country.
Rich Rohde of Oregon Action suggested taxing Jackson County businesses, while Beverly De Leonardis, also of Oregon Action, suggested a city sales tax.
“I could see a county tax, but not a city tax,” said City Councilor Alice Hardesty, because people would flee to Medford to shop.
Other suggestions were a “view tax” similar to ordinances in other picturesque cities, as well as a tax on homes over a certain square-footage.”
First of all who were the “community members” who met? I never got an invite. Did you? And what about that “community survey”? Never got one. Did you? In the entire discussion, the issue wasn’t to tax or have a genuine conversation about the value of market forces on the subject of subsidized housing. No, apparently the most energy was expended over just what kind of tax to enact and which taxpayers should pay it.
Sadly there is no end to the ideas Ashland’s elected “leaders” and kitchen cabinet have for taxing us to pay for their social schemes. And few of us seem to mind.
For my grand example, the most recent school bond. Just last year, Ashlanders panted to tax themselves $46,800,000 for a school bond. Remember those mean-spirited, selfish folks who voted against the Bond Issue. How dare they question good intention? Forget the details. It’s “for the children.” And besides, Ashland is special. Why, out of some 250 graduates, we have about 10 graduates going to prestige colleges. And our children test at least 3% better than all other Oregon kids! So what that an Ashland 12th grader can’t compete academically with a Norwegian 9th grader or a Japanese 10th grader. We shall have new structures for our children to express themselves more creatively and fully. (Like they can’t do that on myspace and facebook for free).
And what about people like former resident Michael Hays, who challenged bond assumptions, who warned about budget overruns, down-sizing, and corner cutting? So now what do we read ? “Ashland school officials are rethinking some of their plans for construction projects since nearly all of the estimates came back over budget, including a $2 million overrun on the high school project budgeted for $9.4 million.
“We told the design teams to dream, and they did,” said Project Manager Gary DeCock. “When you actually get the numbers back, you have to adjust, but dreaming is good.”
Most of the changes will result in a simpler architectural design, but prioritizing proved to be a difficult task because other suggested choices would affect the size and scope of educational spaces. The recommended list of cuts totaled just over $2 million, which officials said did not provide enough options.”
No, “dreaming” with taxpayers’ money is not good. It’s wrong. Why wasn’t the charge to the design team something like this: “Within the voter-approved budget and legally mandated schedule, construct the most sustainable and affordable buildings that match the community’s environmental ethos and which blend architecturally and aesthetically with the City’s Master Plan. Let’s make doing the right job, on time, within budget our highest priority.”
Silly me. It’s Ashland. First of all, we do not have a current Master Plan. Second, it’s just money, with more from where that came from (just say, “its for the kids). Those rich folks living up in the hills, especially the fresh ones from California who are used to big taxes, they can afford it. So dream a little. What’s the harm? For one thing the $46.8 million is fixed. Can’t get bigger. Even guilt-ridden Ashland uber liberals can’t change that number. So every penny we waste on a Project Manager “dreaming” (sleeping?) on the job, and designing by dreaming, comes out of the brick and mortar. Ultimately it’s the children who get shorted; I must have been dreaming to think it was “for the children”?
And so it goes with taxes in Ashland. Got a slogan? It’s got a tax.
For a good understanding of liberal guilt, the source of their obsession with taxes, I commend to you: The Secret to the Suicidal Liberal Mind .