Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Beggars Night At The BOCS

The lead article in today's Potomac News has a singularly disingenuous title: "Crowd weighs in on tax rate, county budget," by Keith Walker. In it, we find that recent elections really were stolen, and that there is a widespread, deeply-based effort in the County to create a socialist workers' paradise here in l'il ole Prince William.

Well, not really. What we really find is that if you cut it, they will come. Who is they?, you might ask.

The tax consumers. Those who believe that they know better how to spend my money than I do.

Here's the lead:
The crowd at the McCoart Administration Building thinned as Monday night wore on, but it started out at about 350 and spilled into the atrium.

The people came to talk about human services that are threatened, the potential that the county could wind up with too few firefighters and police officers and the possible elimination of the nurse at the Manassas Senior Center.

They came to talk about the endangered Prince William Office on Youth and Project Mend-A-House.

You see, for this crowd, the 50-60% increase in County taxes over the last few years (far more than most have enjoyed in wage increases) just wasn't enough. They want more. It was rather interesting, however, to examine exactly who it was who was demanding that the County forcibly extract more from already hard-pressed taxpayers. There was the tax consumer who is a substitute teacher:

Debra Kupec, a substitute teacher who has lived in Prince William County for more than 20 years, said she didn't mind paying taxes.

"We have wonderful services in this county and we need to continue these services," the 47-year-old Kupec said.

And while it seems that Walker had a good ear for the sarcasm of one speaker whose "tongue-in-cheek" comments discussed the "needs" of "citizens and employees," but didn't bother to mention those actually paying the bills, the taxpayers.

Jean Reynolds of Woodbridge drew laughter from the audience with her tongue-in-cheek comments to the board.

She said she "liked" Chairman Corey A. Stewart, John T. Stirrup, Martin E. Nohe and W.S. "Wally" Covington's back room negotiating skills and congratulated them on their efficiency in holding one session of public hearings on the budget.

"You don't waste a lot of time discussing the actual needs of our community with citizens and employees because you know exactly what they need and want. I like that about you guys," Reynolds said.

Then there were the beggars from the "charitable" organizations who are too lazy to solicit funds, and seek to enlist the power of government to extract them forcibly from people who might just want to spend their money elsewhere (insuring, of course, that the County bureaucracy gets its cut):

Cheri Zeman, executive director of Securing Emergency Resources Through Volunteer Efforts Inc., spoke in support of the charitable organization but also spoke as a private citizen who recently moved to the county.

"I'm a single mother with four teenagers and I want to see the taxes go up," said Zeman who moved to Prince William County in July.

Zeman said she moved to the county for the quality of life and the opportunities for her children.

"All of that is slipping between the cracks and for what -- what would equate to me as $118 a year," Zeman said. "I'm going to lose that in property value because people won't want to be a part of the community."

Thank goodness Zeman spoke. It allows me to add Securing Emergency Resources Through Volunteer Efforts Inc. --- a singularly dishonest name for the organization, in light of the efforts of its executive director's efforts --- as one of those organizations to which I will not contribute.

Then there were those who were purportedly begging "for the children." It's always "for the children," don't you know? They managed to call upon a child to do their begging:
"There's a possibility, that if you're early in your career, to look elsewhere to go to more promising counties," the 29-year-old Dempsey said.

Natalie Murray, 16, a Prince William County Office on Youth volunteer, said the county was putting "youth as a second priority."

The office on youth, which sponsors teen conferences and work shops, community education and volunteer programs, as well as teen pregnancy and suicide prevention programs, stands to be eliminated this year.

"They're taking away absolutely all of our money," the 16-year-old Murray said.

Actually, Murray is a monument to the failure of government education. No, Natalie, they're not "taking away ... all of [your] money"; they're declining to take away the taxpayers' money to give to you. And, by the by, there are a number of fine private organizations to which individuals sharing your concerns may voluntarily contribute: the Boy Scouts; the Girl Scouts; the Boys and Girls Clubs, to name just three.

The best line of the night by far, though, must have been "tongue-in-cheek," too, though Walker doesn't seem to have recognized it:
A few told the Prince William Board of County Supervisors that they didn't mind paying for services that would be lost if the board adopted a tax rate that is lower than the advertised rate.

Really? Well, here's an idea. One can only hope that the wise souls on the Board (which has gotten markedly wiser in recent months) will create a "Tax Me More" fund, to accept the extra monies that these people will be ponying up to pay for the services that they so desperately want. I would suggest that they start with Zeman, Reynolds, and Murray, and put them to their proofs.

Of course, such efforts have been tried in the past, with little success. You see, there's one common thread among those claiming that "they don't mind paying for services that would be lost."

They're lying.

What they really mean is that they want to empower government to extract such monies involuntarily, to insure that the government Leviathan always remains large, powerful, and growing. They don't want to "pay for it." 'Fact is, they want government to force everybody else to "pay for it."

Too bad they lack the honesty to admit it.

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