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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Public service, Part II

OK, that last post was a cheap shot, and shooting fish in a barrel and beating a dead horse, too. Demonizing politicians is good, clean fun, and we are more likely to induge in it as tax time approaches. But we should be careful not too go too far in demonizing all public service, which I'm sure I've done on occasion and which the governor succumbs to once in a while:

"I am pleased that we have entered a new era of taxpayer protection in Indiana," Gov. Mitch Daniels said Friday after the Legislature passed the property tax package he advocated. "It's a historic win for taxpayers, and no more will taxpayers be asked to adjust their tax bills to government's appetite. Government will now begin to adjust its spending to what taxpayers can reasonably afford."

It is clear that this was the homeowners' session. Just listen to the howls of complaint coming from those in local government. It is true that it is important to change the operating principle -- that we start with what taxpayers can afford rather than what government wants to do. But local public servants don't think of themselves as  mere functionaries out to satisfy their appetites at taxpayer expense. They believe they are performing genuninely needed duties and that the public will suffer without them.

I know a few people in the public-library community, for example, and they are very worried about how much funding they might lose because of tax reform; they don't have the escape mechanisms provided to schools by the legislature. They are worried for the same reasons those of us in the private sector get worried sometimes -- job security, being able to do what we were hired to do, how and when to cut corners. And they don't think in terms of "citizens" or "taxpayers" or "residents" but of "library patrons."  


Bob G.
Mon, 03/17/2008 - 10:12am

I tend to think that all these local "entities" will STILL receive our tax money...they just won't be getting AS MUCH of it ALL AT THE SAME TIME(S) they were used to.