• Windfalls

pigout3thumbnail.jpg
2-10-08
Guy W. Midkiff
*****

In December, 2007, the city of Washington reported an unexpected windfall of $420,000 as a result of resolved telecom litigation.

The funds will be used for:

1) Merit Pay Raises Reinstated for city employees, $115,00 (Click here for full story in local news paper).

2)”Relieve pressure on the city budget.”

One of the issues that I hear from people in Ward 3 is that they want to keep their children in the city they grew up in, after finishing school. Others want to have more volunteerism in the community.

What if we offered incentives for our children to return to our hometown after finishing college. We could offer scholarships, grants or special loans that budding entrepreneurs could use to invest in the community in new technology companies, medicine, or engineering, instead of being held corporate hostage to large companies that demand airports and other freebies before they agree to move here.

And instead of using the money in ways that some have described as patronage programs for city employees, we invest in new volunteer programs such as one that could make sure our seniors and handicapped are looked after.

It is worth debating whether or not more consideration should have been given to doing more with “our” windfalls than using it to feed the government.

Remember, government works for you, not the other way around.

• Status Symbols?

2-10-08
Guy W. Midkiff
*****

Infrastructure is the underlying foundation or basic framework of a system of public works.

Prioritization is the listing or rating of projects or goals in order of priority.

Cities set budgets because it is a method of setting spending limits on limited resources. Cities prioritize these expenditures so that the limited taxpayer funds are spent intelligently and in a way that serves the greater good of the community.

Washington, Missouri’s infrastructure is not so highly evolved that public works can be ignored in lieu of vanity expenditures. When I see $36,000 in taxpayer money being thrown away on vanity light poles, it worries me that we may have lost focus of our priorities and adherence to fiscal discipline.

A community airport at Washington Regional Airport makes perfect sense. But we are told that $650,000 spent on our airport is smart because the government (a euphemism for you and me – other peoples money) is kicking in $6.5 million dollars. Does anyone ask “Why?”

Who is now or will in the future, be using an airport that can justify a price tag that is about to go past $14 million? The airport has no flight school, no aircraft rentals, no glider club, no sport diving club, no flying club, and no maintenance facility – just hangars with airplanes parked in them. All the while, we are spending $48,000 annually to “manage” the aerodrome?

And what about the carrying costs? That price tag is somewhere north of $160,000 annually. This does not even take into account what that price would jump to if the airport, heaven forbid, had to actually pay interest and principal on $6.5 million. That payment would add another $600,000 per year to the cost of operations.

carrotstickjpg.jpgAnd the big orange carrot on the end of the stickstatus symbol and the “hope” that some large corporation will pick us for a dance at prom night. The latter of which is popularly known as “Corporate Welfare.”

The federal government has a poor record of picking industrial winners and losers, so the economic benefits that these programs are purported to create inevitably fail to materialize. Furthermore, corporate welfare programs create an uneven playing field; foster an incestuous relationship between business and government; are anti-consumer, and anti-capitalist; and create a huge drain on the federal budget.

The most efficient way to promote economic growth in America is to reduce the overall cost and regulatory burden of government. Ending corporate welfare as we know it would be a significant first step toward that goal of reducing the cost of government.

• Camp Street Bridge?

Does Camp Street Bridge Makes Sense?
Guy W. Midkiff
Saturday, January 26, 2008

Washington, Missouri: Does the Camp Street justify the cost (about $1million tax payer dollars) of its resurrection? When one looks at a Map of Camp Street, it is clear that there are some problems with the project:

  • It appears to be a “Bridge to No Where.” It will not provide conduit traffic flows North and South, to make traffic arteries. You will not be able to go in a straight line from 5th Street to Highway 100.
  • It will increase, substantially, traffic on local neighborhood streets, increasing the possibility of children being hit by speeding cars and stress on local neighborhoods.
  • As the project stands now, it does not pass my litmus test of, “Is it good for Washington?”
  • “Safety.” This logically can not be the default answer for every project the city decides to pursue. And safety, as the final arbiter, works both ways. There is a very real and increased chance that additional traffic through residential areas, will result in a child being injured by a car that would have otherwise taken a different route.

Guy W. Midkiff

Published in: on January 26, 2008 at 11:04 am  Comments (2)