By Robert Welzel
Saturday, April 13, 2018
It can be difficult to read an article like this because one of my children is a volunteer firefighter and cannot get full-time employment because of funding issues. It’s even more difficult if we take a principled stance on these important funding issues. Now, this illustration is a little dated, but I checked with the Department of Revenue and they said that this was fairly representative. If a more detailed analysis is performed, we need to have updated information. Here’s what I found:
From a principled standpoint, we all understand that some city and country services are enjoyed by all and should be paid. The exact mechanism of taxation is debatable, so I will leave that for another time, but the amount and use is a matter of public record and should be discussed.
The first thing I notice is that Fire is included in the Miscellaneous and County items. This tells me that the funds needed for firefighting are competing with other GENERAL fund items in the budget. Are we properly spending those general fund dollars? I highly doubt it. For instance. The four people employed by Family Court Services are paid an awful amount of money; are they paid for by property taxes? If so, then let’s close that office and make them firefighters or fire them outright. That office is useless to the vast majority of citizens, so our property taxes shouldn’t be used to pay for them.
Before addressing a single waste, fraud or abuse issue in any slice of the budget pie, I believe we could properly fund the various fire departments slice of the budget pie, I believe we could properly fund the various fire departments merely by eliminating jobs that do not meet my simple rules for budgeting:
- Is it constitutional?
- Is it necessary?
- Can we afford it?
Even if something like Family Court Services is constitutional and necessary, it certainly isn’t more important than firefighting, so it should be closed because we need those funds for the various fire districts.
Responsible budgeting is a painful process when we have been plagued by years of profligate spending, but if we do not draw the line now, we will never reign in the abusive taxing the people of the state are experiencing.