Madison County Opinion...

December 5, 2001


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
December 5, 2001, 2001

Frankly Speaking

Time to reduce the govıt sponge
When will these tax and spend politicians understand that all taxes are paid by the little guy? Every time you turn on a news show, some politician is complaining because the ³rich² are not paying enough. Or they insist that the tax burden should be shifted to ³big business.²
Our whole economy is based on the consumption of goods and services.
Wealthy investors, big business, giant corporations all come into existence as methods of producing and distributing goods and services.
And most of the goods and services are consumed by the average American.
It does not matter whether you collect taxes from the pay of the laborer, from the pocket of the investor or the treasury of the big corporation.
Whoever pays the taxes simply adds the cost to the price of the hamburgers, hair cuts or health care we all buy.
The problem is not who pays the taxes. The problem is the size of the tax burden we all jointly pay. The problem is the waste of tax money by government bureaucracies and spending programs that do not produce usable goods and services.
Wealth is created by work. When we create goods or perform services, we create the basis of our nationıs money. In a perfect economy, we would each receive the same value in goods and services that we create. We would simply be exchanging what we build for things we need that someone else built.
But the tax system interferes with that exchange. When government takes away the money we earn to finance non-productive bureaucracies and giveaway plans, we are denied the full value of our efforts.
I say to the politicians: It does not matter if you hit workers with a payroll tax, consumers with a sales tax, investor taxes or corporate taxes. In every case, it is we the people who drive the economy with our labor and purchases that are damaged.
To those politicians who argue for more government spending: You are making the problem worse. You create more non-productive programs that soak up money from those of us who create goods and provide services.
To those politicians who argue over which taxes to cut: It doesnıt matter. As long as you reduce the size of the government sponge that soaks up money created by our efforts, we will all benefit.
The current financial crisis is due in great measure to a massive, non-productive government bureaucracy that holds power through giveaway programs. When government is reduced to its proper size, and we are allowed to keep more of the wealth we create, the economy will recover.
There will be good paying jobs for anyone willing to work. Those workers will be able to decide for themselves how to spend, save or give away their money without government interference. We will be happier, wealthier and more generous with our unfortunate neighbors. And we will do it all without the restrictions of big government. That is the ³American² way!
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.

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Column
By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
December 5, 20018, 2001

From the Editor's Desk

Shelter contract a source of contention
A bullet to the head. Thatıs the old solution for troublesome stray dogs and cats in Madison County.
Thankfully, leaders want to put that crude approach behind, getting the ball rolling on an animal shelter. But there is a contractual hitch that now threatens to derail the shelter project.
County commissioners have provided the land next to the county transfer station and promised $3 per person in the county annually to help run the facility. Meanwhile, the Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter Committee has agreed to take care of payment for the building.
Itıs like the old ad: your chocolate and my peanut butter. Together they make a great team.
Good business, right? The county gets an animal shelter without paying for its construction.
Perhaps, but the contract between the county and the committee sets up a potentially volatile situation.
Hereıs why: The contract says the county can terminate the lease after giving the committee a 90-day notice to remove the building. If the committee does not remove the shelter — a cement block structure which will prove impossible to remove once constructed — the board can take the building and not pay for it.
By law, the county has this right, even though the county is not paying for the structure.
Of course, the committee is skittish about agreeing to these terms. Should the county swipe the building without paying for it, all of the work the Madison-Oglethorpe committee has put into establishing a shelter would be washed away.
The group wants some assurance that current commissioners will stand by the project by including language in the contract that makes a hostile takeover of the facility more difficult. Yes, a takeover is unlikely. But remember, stranger things have happened in Madison County politics.
The county has complied to some degree, with the contract stating that the county ³may pay to tenant the fair market value² of the building. But the county is also trying to retain the right to refuse or reject the fair market value.
County leaders also maintain that a current board cannot bind a future board to a long-term contract. True, Georgia law states this.
But the committee argues that by allowing the lease to renew at the beginning of each year, the BOC is choosing to accept the terms of the contract. Basically, they maintain that commissioners arenıt binding future board members to the lease contract, because future groups will have the opportunity to trash it as soon as they take office.
In the end, letıs hope all involved recognize the big picture.
Madison Countyıs old approach to animal control needs revision. And a professional facility is the first step.
Letıs hope commissioners donıt let paperwork problems get in the way of this needed project.
A contract which deters future leaders from strong-arming the shelter out of existence is a reasonable request.
Whatıs not reasonable is continued aim and shoot animal control.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.


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