Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Speaking of Bad Days

I was wrong. As was so eloquently pointed out by my predecessor, the current combined city/county/state sales tax is already at the maximum allowed by current state law. Mea Culpa.

I do wonder how the State is planning to handle their budget overrun, not to mention what will happen with all of the cities in Texas that are in budget crunches themselves due to promises of unsustainable salaries and pensions. I suppose the state will have to get a second job? It's not like they can legislate themselves more money through changes to the tax code and additional "fees," right?

Even in San Angelo, we are in the middle of a massive recession, but I'm not sure our town knows it. Our city council has just announced a brand-spanking new holiday for city workers, giving them one more holiday than even the bloated federal government. The small percentage of citizens that bothered to vote earlier this month passed permanence on the 1/2 cent sales tax so that we can pay to get another water source "for the future," even though we've already paid for this one once. Two or three years ago our water fees doubled to replace the water and sewer lines that were supposed to be being maintained by the extant water fees we had already been paying. While not directly city controlled, there was also the increase in property values (up as much as 500% in some areas) by the "non-city government" assessment district, so that we are now paying more in property taxes even though the tax rate officially "decreased."

Historically, the city council of San Angelo has a poor track record of keeping it's word on infrastructure issues. It also has a history of making ordinances that lessen individual freedoms (one example is the "garage sale" issue just weeks ago), but then don't bother to enforce existing ordinances that would probably preclude the new issues in the first place. In contrast, they will enforce obscure, ancient ordinances if it suits their purposes ("no tossing a ball to and fro on city streets", that is if you happen to be suspected of being a drug dealer).

Pardon me if I don't trust the city council and local government to be looking out for the best interests of the individual San Angeloan. The city is looking out for the city government's best interest. That's how bureaucracy works -- its purpose is to decentralize decision making (to cover bureaucratic butts) and to expand to fill available space. While everyone else is having to cut corners and spend less, it's business as usual for government.

That's why I "joined" the libertarian party. I was looking for like-minded individuals who would work for the REVERSAL of government spending and handouts, commercial or private; people who would stand up to the local governments to prevent them from stepping on the individuals of San Angelo, not just watch them do it.

Perhaps ConchoInfo was right. Maybe I shouldn't have been the one to take over this blog. I tend to say what's on my mind. But I was the only one who would step up, and I will keep it until directly asked to leave. Funny thing about libertarians: individuals tend to be, well, individual.

In the coming weeks, I'm going to try and get back to what I wanted to do in the first place, and explain in layman's terms what libertarianism really means, and how it can be used at the local level to improve citizen government of themselves. It's about protecting individual rights and the limitation of government intrusion on consensual human interaction.

We really can have that in San Angelo. If we try.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Good Days and Bad Days

Today is a good day to be a Republican. Republicans have taken over control of the House of Representatives. Hopefully, they have learned a lesson from the massacre of 2008. The "Tea Party" movement had a so-so night, but most of the Republicans took notice of them anyway. The most likely Speaker of the House mentioned smaller government, lower taxes, personal responsibility. Sounds like a good plan. I hope they stick to it.

Today is a good day to be a Democrat. They held onto the Senate (and the Presidency, which was not up for grabs). They don't have a filibuster proof majority any longer, but the Majority leader won his race, and the hard-core leftists are still with us. (It was mostly the moderates that got creamed last night.) So, we'll have to see if the Democrats in the Senate can work with the Republicans in the House to get work done in Washington D.C.

Today isn't a good day to be a Libertarian, at least not locally. The "majority" (actually about 1/6th of registered voters) in San Angelo decided that private property rights just aren't that important anymore. The most restrictive smoking ban in the state will begin on January 1st right here in Monterey East.

To make it worse, the 1/2 cent sales tax has now been made permanent. Looking into my crystal ball, I see a rise in the 1/2 cent tax to 3/4 cents in a couple of years, later to be replaced with the 1 cent sales tax. The only way they had a chance to raise the limit was to make it permanent first.

On the bright side, my children and grandchildren won't have to worry about paying the extra taxes. Neither one can find a decent job here in town, even with the economic slush fund (funded by the 1/2 cent sales tax, no?). They'll move on to greener pastures, where perhaps, just perhaps, they can open a business without "good ole boys" getting into their business.

"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it." -- Frederic Bastiat