Personal Endorsement: Rick Notkin for Gilford Budget Committee

Budgets

Consider this a personal endorsement of Rick Notkin for Gilford Budget Committee. I’ve known him for a couple of years now and he literally is a straight shooter AND will watch over how your tax monies are spent just as miserly as I do! Please, if you want someone that supports limited government, please give him your vote tomorrow!

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To borrow from “Cabaret”: Money makes the world go ‘round.

Money can be a store of wealth, a medium of exchange, a measure of worth, a vote of confidence, an investment vehicle, or a sign of success. What money is not is unlimited. Even for the Federal government (which  can print more which then devalues the rest) and certainly not for local governments.

I have read many recent articles and letters about this or that town or county project. A community center, a fire station, a jail addition, a downtown theater, a lactation room, a drug rehab program, a regional planning commission. There is a never ending list of things on which to spend money.  Some are more worthy than others. Some sponsors’ intentions are more altruistic than others. Different people have different views.

Can we agree that there aren’t enough local monies to fund every project? If we can’t, then you can stop reading. If we can, then the hard part comes: How do we choose which and how much? As Milton Friedman famously said, “There is no free lunch”. Somebody pays.

Essentially, the money that Gilford and Belknap County spends comes from taxpayers. Yes, we could get grants from the State of NH, but those come from state taxpayers. The same for Federal grants.  Or a bond can be floated, which means future taxpayers foot the bill.

Frequently I read that proponents of a particular project refer to the money spent as an “investment”. The goal of investing is to gain a profitable return.  The idea that if we spend money now, we’ll avoid spending much more later” is not always realistic. It is closer to the definition of coercion.

The better way to assess the value of a commodity or product is the free market system. The poorest way of assessment is a bureaucracy — government or otherwise. We can see the costs of central planning if we look south to Venezuela.

It is distressing to me how frequently citizens turn to government(s) to solve social problems, considering the poor track record on that account. Can anyone name a program that either can’t be or isn’t being done better by the private sector?

To borrow from Friedman again, he said that there are 4 ways to spend money. When you spend your money on you, you care about the cost and the quality because it’s your money and you’ll end up with the product.  When you spend your money on others, you care about the cost, but not the quality.  When you spend other people’s money on you, you care about the quality, but not the cost. When you spend other people’s money on other people, neither cost nor quality is important. It’s [mostly] not your money and you’re [mostly] not the recipient.

I almost forgot to mention the budget “surplus”. If you had your car repaired and found out that you were overcharged in error, would you just tell the shop to “keep it” so that the balance was on hand for next time? I think that most people would like the excess funds returned to them for their own use. So why does Gilford (and the County) insist on keeping the extra tax money that they collected from us?

I am running for the Gilford Budget Committee in an effort to be a good steward of the funds that are actually needed to keep our town healthy. I am asking for your vote on March 12th.

Rick Notkin
Gilford