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John Rhoades: Urges local officials to spend more time on budget issues

Published: 2/17/2020 5:19:03 PM

Two things are not debatable. The power to tax is the absolute power and government at every level is the worst at allocating capital.

When you combine those two statements you get budget deficits at every level of government with no end in sight. The answer is always to raise taxes. Calvin Coolidge once said “collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.”

On March 3rd, Northampton voters are being asked to replenish the city slush fund to the tune of $2.5 million. The campaign has been ongoing to convince voters that if you vote “no,” schools will close, bridges will collapse and anarchy will rule the streets.

That may very well happen even with the override passing because we can’t ever get enough. A small example of waste are the speed humps on Nonotuck Street. They were installed by the city’s Department of Public Works. After numerous complaints, and flying car parts, it was finally determined that they were not in compliance with Department of Transportation standards. The city hired an outside contractor to remove and replace them. That’s a poor allocation of capital.

My feeling is that this override will pass. The fear of schools closing, cops and firefighters being let go and potholes not being filled is too much for most of us to bear. So can I just ask that our elected local officials spend a little less time on nonbinding resolutions of worldwide importance (a worthwhile endeavor I’m sure) and more time paying attention to local budget issues.

It will help me sleep at night knowing someone’s paying attention.

John Rhoades


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