Where did we ever get the idea that if we throw enough money at a problem, it will go away, and that there will not be any financial consequences?
Does solving a problem this way not create a bigger one? Have we completely forgotten about common sense, priorities, a balanced budget and bankruptcy? Don't these things apply to all levels of our society: family, city, county, state, nation?
Have we already forgotten what happened in Russia, as they spent themselves into financial destruction? Hasn't California recently issued IOUs for lack of money? Are we not as a nation, and a people, following in their footsteps?
Whatever happened to the rule, "If you can't afford it, don't buy it?" The idea of, "We can't afford not to" is in my opinion, a fool's folly. Whatever happened to our understanding that the most important things are funded first, and that when our available funds are spent, the remaining lower-priority items just don't get funded?
We may be able to afford the things we need, but we certainly cannot afford everything that we want. We have bought into the lie that, "You deserve it," rather than believing the truth, "You can't afford it."
We have also been hoodwinked by our leaders who legislate requirements and expect us, the taxpayers to pick up the tab. Leaders like these clearly do not represent us, but themselves, and it becomes an issue of taxation without representation.
With the increase in property tax assessments for the library (a wound which has not yet healed), we hear today that Pine Grove Fire District wants to increase our property tax assessments as well to consolidate with the Odell Fire District. The flyer which arrived today from them states that for the past five or 10 years they have been discussing this merger, but we the taxpayers, who are expected to cough up the money to pay for it, are just now finding out.
Why weren't we told about it when the library issue came up, so that we could consider priorities in that decision? It seems to me that the fire department might just have a higher priority than the library. Had we known, that measure just might not have passed.
Why were we kept in the dark? It almost appears that we are being manipulated to give our government more money to spend. They have already increased taxes for the library, and now they are trying to increase them for the fire department. Is the police department next?
This is not an issue of the merits of fire department consolidation; it may be a great idea. Instead, it is an issue of controlling our overall spending so that we as a county, and individual members thereof, do not become victims of bankruptcy, by being forced through taxation, to spend money we cannot afford to spend.
We are an agricultural community with a very thin profit margin. We are in the worst recession that most of us have known in our lifetimes, and we have not seen the end of it yet; many of us are out of work. Our coffers are either dry or nearly exhausted, and this is no time to strap us with the additional burden of another tax to pay: Some of us will not survive.
It is time to say "NO" to any request for increased spending. We must cap our budget, observe our priorities and increase spending in one area only as we decrease it in another. This out of control spending must stop, and will stop. Either we choose to stop it now (ourselves), or bankruptcy will stop it (as with Russia), or revolution will stop it (as with our forefathers).
The choice is ours.
Gary Simpson lives in Hood River.