The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.
I see that the four-county regional planning commission is off and running. Theyíve set a budget of around $75,000 per year and are planning to hire a director. So we have another fruitless expenditure of taxpayer money and another government employee. The reason we must spend this money on a planning commission is because the Missouri Department of Transportation, that paragon of efficient planning, tells us we wonít get our share of highway work without one.
That same highway department thatís forcing us to spend the money is kicking in $38,000. That comes from our gas taxes that are supposed to be used to build and fix highways. The state Office of Administration will provide about $8,400, taken from the same general fund coffers that hasnít enough money to support the schools. Another $7,500 comes from something called Missouri Association of Councils of Government; Iíll bet this money comes from contributions by local governmental units, paid from their local tax revenues. The remaining $28,000 has to be made up by the counties and cities in the region Ė right out of their own tax revenues. Of course, this doesnít count time and travel expenses for employees and officials.
The result? Another unnecessary layer of government sucking money from valid functions. Our local governments succumbed to MODoTís financial blackmail, just as our legislature has succumbed to federal highway blackmail on so many issues, from speed limits in the 1970s and 80s to blood alcohol content just a year ago. I donít begrudge them trying to make the best of a bad situation, but the practice of government using our money to coerce us like this needs to stop someplace.
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