Monday, July 02, 2007

Response to Disappointed Tax Increase Proponent

The Saturday edition of the Standard Examiner included this letter to the editor, which expressed “deep disappointment in the voters of North Ogden” for defeating the $2.3 million bond to cover a small portion of the city’s aquatic facility (see my previous posts here and here).

In reply to the letter, I sent this letter to the editor:

I feel some empathy for the letter writer that was disappointed that North Ogden’s bond issue failed to pass (Defeat of bond to cover pool disappoints, June 30). It is unfortunate, however, that she considers the 71% of her neighbors that voted to defeat the issue to be stingy, selfish, wealthy snobs rather than principled individuals who are interested in good government, and who made a conscientious choice after weighing the facts.

Perhaps the writer is unfamiliar with fellow citizens that are far from wealthy and that live on very tight budgets. Given the small percentage of the populace that receives home pizza delivery, the noted anecdotal experiences of stingy tipping are hardly representative of the generosity of all North Ogden citizens. For many, this was not a matter of personal generosity, but of whether it was right to be generous with other people’s money.

In this country, We The People are the government. Whenever we employ government, we are employing the power to coerce our neighbors. For this reason, we must be extremely cautious with how we choose to use our governmental powers. Many voters simply concluded that it would not have been right to force their neighbors to pay this tax increase.

Scott Hinrichs

The Standard Examiner included its own editorial in today’s edition supporting the bond, but chastising bond supporters for lousy organization. Like the editors, I like the idea of a pool cover. But the fiscal reality of this proposal is that it was just too darn expensive for what would have been delivered. Even many voters that are not generally opposed to increased taxes could see that.

The bond proponents would have needed a lot more than good organization for the issue to have passed. They would have needed a plan that made financial sense to the average voter.

1 comment:

steve u. said...

Very interesting post. Ms. Holliday's opinion illustrates what many of us feel -- the ultimate test of good citizenship for others is whether they agree with us. (The real test, of course, is whether they agree with me).

The Washington County School District had a significant bonding issue go down to defeat recently. The District could have done many things. It chose to do a very honorable thing; it kept battling for something it thought made sense. It did a better job of educating citizens and bringing stakeholders on board. A few months later, the very same bond issuance passed with flying colors.

Democracy is all about ideas, dialogue, and work. For now, the people of North Ogden have spoken.

That doesn't mean that people in favor of the pool cover can't get out and work to convince their neighbors to change their mind. It's a better strategy than calling them evil for voting a certain way.