Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 02, 2006

There's No Vocal Hokum Like One's Local Yokum

For today's inspiration we need turn only so far as the local Elkhorn Independent, to the lead story "Supervisors hear taxpayers' proposed budget complaints".

The county is proposing a budget increase of 9.55% in 2007. "This is insane!" wailed a Bob Barrow, of Lyons, "If there was ever a poster child for a TABOR Amendment, this is it." (TABOR is an acronym for we stingy bastards have grown children and can afford our own retirement and health care and the rest of you can eat cake)

True, the county has been spending a bit of money lately. We have a new courthouse, and a new nursing home. In addition, our county maintains it's own special education school, and is proposing rebuilding that. All this building means debt maintenance. And then there's health care. The cost of providing health care to county employees will increase 35% in 2007. Youza! A Jim Simons put forth a solution for that, toot de suite:

County employees don't have to make a contribution, there is no incentive not to go to the doctor for everything.

His company, the one he runs, requires a 50% premium co-pay and a $1,500 deductible.

When we went to that, doctor's visits went way down.

Eureka! Save on health costs by charging your employees half the cost of something they can't afford to use anyway. (and there's probably a golf outing or two in it for Jim Simons, too) "We offer health insurance," undoubtedly go the want ads. Good old American style health care, with none of that doctoring crap mucking up the works.

And toss in a raise or two into the budget. David DeHaan, small business owner, offered:

When I fund (sic) out what increases to wages and benefits county employees are getting, it fried my eggs.

Quaint. DeHann is probably crabby because sales of his RVs are down, what with the gas prices and all. Still, a decent Coachman Class C goes for about $65,000 over there, a pretty good jump from the $28,000 or so I remember similar models going for when I sold them in 1974. That's about 3% a year, I think, finance not being my strong suit. Sounds like a soft boil to me, and so I would expect these raises to be way, way beyond anything of that scope to turn DeHaan over hard, wouldn't you?

Actually, the figure given is 1% to 6% per cent. I'll bet the average is pretty close to 3%.

So, back to the increase. As a result of this 9.55% increase in the budget to pay for new buildings and health care and raises and stuff the tax rate will, get ready for it, decrease from $4.40 per $100,000 to $4.24! The value of a home in my town is up 11% in the last year. A $200,000 home paid $880 for the county share of taxes in 2006, and in 2007 the same $222,000 home will pay $941. Let's say you're retired or cash poor for some other reason. Take out an equity line of credit, borrow $200, pay the extra $61 to the county, take the old lady to The Auctioneer Inn for a first class steak and a couple of nice bottles of wine, get laid and too happy to go carp at a county board meeting, and you're still up $21,800.

Problem solved.


At 1:57 PM, Blogger Bullock said...

A liitle fuzzy math there, Sequoit. Sixty-one bucks increase in property taxes from last year may not seem like much but, it is a 6.5% increase. Out-of-pocket. More than the the national COLA index. And, RE valuation increases are a passive-kind-of gain, not realized until you sell the property.Yeah, you can borrow against property like a lot of us do, but at current 7-8% Home equity rates, you are still out-of-pocket.California real estate is highly inflationary and public entities would be awash in money if it weren't for a 2% maximum yearly property tax increase.And, we are in the hole as well--don't ask...
Public works funding is a problem all over the states and a lot of theories come out of where to get the money. No good answers.Tax the rich and new developments until they scream and find/make loopholes. Or tax the vices; increase liquor, tobacco and casino taxes.
Best solution is to not build or fund something until you can forecast funding to pay for it.

Just like us Joe Citizens.


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