This is my "Exercising the First" column as published in this Thursday’s Laconia Daily Sun (page 4):
From Every Direction
No matter where you look, events are taking place that will have a large and direct impact on each and every one of us as we move down the path of life. Be it local, county, state, or federal, the shakers and movers of governments large and small are on the march—spending, taxing, and reducing freedom with every step.
At the local level, there is no better example of an unresponsive government than right here in Laconia. Oh sure, they’ve got their tax cap— passed due to desperation over the fact the city’s “leaders” couldn’t be trusted to spend the people’s money in a frugal fashion. Unfortunately, in the hands of the wrong people, it can be manipulated in such a way as to actually COST the taxpayers money. After all, a cap that LIMITS expenditures and taxes to a fixed increase year after year can be inversely construed as to ALLOW for such as well. Why would Laconia’s budgeters ever shoot for a (gasp!) level funded budget when they are allowed a certain amount of increase per the tax cap?
This is exactly what is happening in the Lake City with this year’s school budget. Consider that in several area school districts, the budgets are for all intents and purposes level funded; with Gilford actually presenting a budget some two hundred-thousand-plus LOWER than last year’s. With declining enrollment and the mindset that the present times demand frugality, elected leaders and administrators know they must deliver. Not so for Laconia. Apparently the taxpayers there are flush with dough, because the school board has turned in a budget that continues on a growth path unabated, seeking an increase of over 7.2 percent, spending every last penny allowed by the tax cap, PLUS nearly a million dollars more in addition state aid monies promised in Gov. Lynch’s proposed budget.
So what you get is that while neighboring Gilford cut over $200,000 from its school budget, Laconia is adding $2,159,949! How can this be? While the “leaders” blame it on matters beyond their control, like health care costs, etcetera, taxpayers should ask why they didn’t tackle these issues, seeking savings whenever possible. Gilford did it. Other towns have as well. Why not Laconia? Of course, the answer is obvious: Why should they? The tax cap allows a certain amount, and the big spending governor and his comrades in the legislature seems poised to take care of yet another group of their unionized friends. Bad economy? Please… these people don’t care. Who’s going to make them pay? The City Council? Don’t make me laugh.
And while I have been generally favorable towards my own town of Gilford, it’s not all peaches and cream there either.
One warrant article (number 8) on the town side seeks to adopt a new fire code for the town. A quick perusal of the proposal reveals a very costly and overbearing set of rules and equipment requirements that no free people would bring down upon themselves, given a choice and a little thought. Here’s a tidbit from section 8.01.1 of the proposed code:
“After the date of adoption of this Ordinance, no new building used or designed for permanent or temporary human residence, of two (2) or more stories and/or four (4) or more attached wood frame units, shall be permitted to be constructed unless furnished with a sprinkler system…”
Got that? Sprinkler systems in ALL new 2 story homes. Is this what we really want?
Another concern is the fire alarm system requirement:
“7.05.1 Whereas not specified by the adopted codes, all new nonresidential construction and renovations of structures shall install an approved fire alarm system.
7.05.2 All fire alarm systems required by codes and town ordinances shall provide for automatic emergency forces notification.”
Anyone having had experience dealing with these knows that this should be viewed with great trepidation as well. Between the ongoing monitoring fees and other costly maintenance, there is the cost of false alarms. You see—the code will force you to install an alarm in your building… and then fine you when it goes off (unless there’s a real fire, of course). Business owners present and future, as well as homeowners and contractors, should think long and hard about voting to adopt the new fire code, which seeks to solve a problem that, unless I’m missing something, doesn’t exist.
At the county level, unelected bureaucrats and their comrades continue to defy those supposedly elected to run the place. Despite the fact that the County Commissioners have stated that they want to do the right thing and only fund what the actual mandate of county government requires, the usual suspects and busybodies have other ideas. Using every propaganda tool and scare tactic at their disposal, the taxpayer funded “social services industrial complex” will live on. You would hope that the politicians will let this be a lesson: Once you create a program, fund it, and then hire an employee or two, that’s it…, you own (pay for) it forever. The proponents will never take no for an answer.
These are but a few examples of citizens being systematically plundered and crushed by an ever-growing government supposedly there to serve them. Sadly, I know I don’t need to remind informed readers that these relatively minor instances don’t hold a candle to what they’re presently doing to us at the state and national levels…
Doug Lambert’s column appears in the Daily Sun every week. He has an opinion on almost everything. For more, visit online at www.granitegrok.com and www.gilfordgrok.com. Hear him on the radio Saturdays from 9 to 11 on 1490AM, WEMJ.