Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

As a liberal, tax-and-spend Democrat (yes, even today, there are a few old relics from the distant past), I was surprised on reading The Times, “BCR defends property tax ballot initiative,” that I agree with one of the beliefs attributed to former Republican primary candidate for Governor, Brent Bien. The writer quotes Bien as saying, “It’s [the ballot initiative process] a deliberative process, and it’s intentionally tedious.” Tedious, yes, and thank God so!

If the process were not tedious, every ballot would be the size of a small novel, a wish list of any voter unhappy with this or that aspect of public life. For example, unhappy with his or her tax bill. Hell, we’re all unhappy at one thing or another most of the time. Maybe we could make it illegal for any of our costs to rise.

The writer of the piece quotes another sponsor of the initiative, Richard Weber, as saying, “Nobody’s losing any money. All we’re doing is leaving the citizens’ money in their pockets.”

So! Their proposal is to cut residential property taxes by 50%, and yet they claim that nobody will lose money! How about teachers, county employees, businesses from whom the county purchases supplies and equipment, businesses from whom county employees purchase the everyday requirements of life, or the folks who drive on publicly-funded roads and highways?

It’s only the super-wealthy of our society who have the privilege of leaving money in their pockets; the rest of us support a vibrant economy by taking that money out of our pockets and keeping it circulating.

Yes, taxes have risen. So has the cost of every other thing necessary to our daily life and comfort. Do the sponsors of this initiative truly believe that the cost of government could remain constant, when government has to purchase the things it uses just like ordinary citizens do?

Republicans like to claim otherwise, but wages have risen in tandem with prices. Perhaps B, C and R don’t want the wages of their neighbors who work to provide public services to go up?

Consider this intellectual gem attributed to Cheryl Aguiar: “The people who are against [the initiative] either work for the schools or they work for the government and they are protecting their income.”

I beg your pardon! The citizens of Wyoming are somehow honorable for wanting to cut taxes to leave money in their own pockets, but it’s skullduggery when our neighbors, whose jobs are to provide services to the same citizens, try to protect their income!

Bad as all this seems to me, the worst of all is the belief attributed to Mr. Weber: “The people are the fourth pillar of government along with the House, the Senate and the governor.” This country is still a democracy; the House, the Senate and the governor are the people.

(Actually, the government consists of three branches, the legislative, the administrative and the judicial, and these are chosen by the people.)

The writer of the Times article, without attributing the statement to any of the three, states, “BCR Voter Initiatives wants to empower the people to take back control of their government affairs and once again have a say in the future of their state.” If they are to have their way, the future would be a future of uneducated children, no police services and no roads. What a future!


Ernie Reinhold

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