In the crazy world in which we live, a blog looking to make sense of it all.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Waste Of Money

This past week, I received and opened up my real estate tax bill. Good Grief!! It was a steep increase from 2006 to 2007. If the money I pay in were to be used efficiently and for items truly needed in the community, I wouldn't mind paying more in taxes. But it really boils my blood thinking about what my hard earned dollar is going to support.

A New Logo - The Peoria City Council voted unanimously to hire Converse Marketing to design an new logo for the city. The price tag on this is $30,000. Now why couldn't the city just open up a competition to Bradley and ICC art/marketing/design students to do this? A small award could be still be given and would not cost Peoria taxpayers no where near $30,000. And how about the implementation of the new logo? No one even has any idea of what that will cost.

Thirty-thousand dollars could be used more efficiently than for this frivolous project, assuming of course the city actually has $30,000 to spend. How about repairing some roads or sidewalks; better equipping police or helping to re-open a fire station. Interim city manager Henry Holling was quoted saying that this is a "great investment." I say it's a waste of money.

I have to admit, our current logo is woefully dated (and its of an Indian; where's the politically correct crowd on this), but implementing a new logo is something we can live without.

Tax Increase to Fund Museum - The Peoria County board is mulling the idea of raising taxes to help fund the Riverfront Museum to the tune of $24 million. Most likely, the taxes raised will be some form of sales tax; about a quarter percent more. We may see a referendum on this in November.

I like museums. I'd much rather go to a good museum than any shopping or sporting event. But support from the community for this museum is luke warm at best. The Riverfront Museum proponents claim it will cost $65 - 75 million to build the thing ($10 million or so more than previously thought). Caterpillar is putting down a big chunk of the cost to house it's welcome center. Beyond that, contributions have been weak. Therefore, they are coming to the taxpayer to bail them out. And like the Civic Center, along with poor planning, this museum will be unable to support itself financially and they will continually come to the taxpayer for more financial assistance.

Once a tax is raised or initiated, it never, repeat, NEVER goes away.

State Funding for Riverfront Museum - The Riverfront Museum, if built, could well become the boondoggle of the decade. Our local leaders are now trying to get state money to get this thing built. Rep. David Leitch is hot on the trail for this pork (as is Aaron Schock, I think). The Illinois House of Representatives passed, 80 - 20, for a appropriation bill for a slice of $12 million of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources budget. This is our money being spent by a few on something many of us do not want.

Ashtrays and Butts - The city of Peoria is now paying for ashtrays to be placed downtown for smokers to put out their butts. As the smoking ban became law on the first of this year, cigarette butts began to pile up on city sidewalks. Didn't our lawmakers contemplate this as they drafted this piece of brilliant legislation?

I first thought "should not the bar owner clean up after his customers on this one?" But I then realized that smokers need to be 15 feet away from the bar entrance. I would assume in most cases, 15 feet away and the smoker is no longer on bar grounds, but public grounds. The smoker can't take a lit cigarette inside the bar to be extinguished. Besides, the smoking ban does not permit ashtrays to be sat out in these establishments. And if a bar owner placed an ashtray out on public grounds, then what? Would the city come down on him/her? Would it get stolen? So the taxpayer get stuck holding the bag for this.

Common Sense of it All: The most inefficient use of capital is made by the government. Whether you love him or hate him, Ronald Reagan said it best; "The problem is not that people are taxed too little, the problem is that government spends too much. "