Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Absolute Hopelessness of Trying to Keep Taxes Low

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Absolute Hopelessness of Trying to Keep Taxes Low

Article excerpt

Byline: Phil Fretz

Government cannot be run like a business, Mayor John Peyton wrote in a column for The Times-Union last week.

Why not?

"In the private sector, when demand decreases, management responds by ordering less products and laying off employees. In government, demand remains constant or even increases, despite revenue drops."

For example, people still want parks and libraries.

Well, sure. We all still want things from government. But we still want things from the private sector, too.

I want to take a Caribbean cruise as much as I did when the economy was good.

And if the city provided them, with other people's money, I would take one this fall.

But it doesn't. And since our family budget is beset by falling revenues - a result of the same bad economy that's plaguing City Hall - we aren't going.

If we had to pay each time we went to a park or library, we wouldn't go there as much, either.

'FREE' ISN'T FREE

See what I'm trying to say?

The mayor is right when he says people tend to use "free" government stuff more than private sector things that cost them money, particularly in bad economic times.

But so what?

Nothing is really free. Somebody has to pay for it.

And that's the taxpayers.

How much of a favor is it for the city to provide a service that we might not want if we had to pay for it directly, then bill us indirectly - and charge us more when we have less money?

And, my gosh, the irony!

In 2003, a Times-Union news article said this of Peyton: "The youthful scion of Gate Petroleum is running for mayor on the premise that government should be run like a business [emphasis added] and that he should be the next chief executive ..."

Yes, the mayor was for running the city like a business before he was against it - just like he was opposed to tax increases before he was for them. …

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