Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 194
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for June 12, 2003

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

The legislature and the governor continue their dispute over state revenues and expenditures. At the federal level, tax cuts will either save us or bankrupt us, depending on which commentator we listen to. Locally, the city is closely managing its expenses so it can avoid the crises that affect other jurisdictions. Meanwhile, we’ve just completed about 1.5 miles of hiking/bicycle trail for over $500,000. Does anyone see a problem here?

I’m not against recreational opportunities, but I am for sanity in spending. If we’re putting up that kind of money for a fancy trail that runs from an affluent subdivision to Perry Foster’s BBQ, how much more is being spent all around the country on “nice to have” items? After all, “only” 20% of the bike trail money was local.

Doling out federal money for projects such as this is called “pork barrel” spending. It contributes to the deficits that, in a reversal of historic roles, alarm Democrats and doesn’t bother Republicans. In Jefferson City, only the spending bills that appeal to traditionally Democratic constituencies were vetoed to push for a tax hike; any “pork barrel” hidden in health and education wouldn’t benefit Republicans while incumbents of both parties can gain from parks and roads and economic development.

I’m tired of paying for more and more government. I don’t mind that the “rich” will save more dollars than I do on the latest tax cuts; they pay a whole lot more than I do, anyway. Besides, some businesses cater to those who have plenty of money to spend. I don’t mind seeing the “death tax” wiped out, even though I’d never be subject to it; I blame a major part of the Royals’ woes on the weird management arrangement forced on them by that tax when Ewing Kaufman died.

Meanwhile, the hiking/bicycle trail has about 9 miles to go, 6 miles rural (including bridges and hills) and 3 miles urban. At the current rate, that would be at least another $3.1 million of somebody’s tax dollars.

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