Letter to the Editor

What about the concept of less government?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dear Editor,

Well, those of us who are paying attention to the local politics here in McCook are being blitzed with all of the positives of more taxes.

Many residents and business owners of McCook are bringing forth a list all of the benefits with the continuation of the current sales tax and increasing the portion of the city sales tax 50 percent.

That is correct, the current rate is 1 percent and the proposed increase is an additional 0.5 percent.

One point being made is that we need to preserve our way of life here in Southwest Nebraska and the one way to do it is with more taxes.

What was the total share of our income, as a percentage, being paid to the government back in the good old days when these memories were being created? I'll tell you it was a lot less than it is today. So if we are paying more in taxes then we ever have at all levels of government, then why look to increase taxes to solve the issues facing Southwest Nebraska.

Historically when taxes are cut then economies grow and so do the revenues to the government.

I will say this, after conversations with Mayor Berry and Kurt Fritsch that those absurd ideas that came out of the first sales tax meeting are no longer being discussed and rightfully so.

I am encouraged that the city officials have focused on essentials such as streets and our water infrastructure to be the focus of these tax dollars potentially raised. As a taxpayer, I plan to continue to observe how my taxes are spent and I encourage every resident of McCook to do the same.

Hold you local officials accountable in the manner they spend YOUR money. Sometimes that phrase gets lost in all of the hype, it is YOUR money, you earned it and you are spending it to generate these taxes so make sure you are getting the return on your investment that you expect.

In the flyers you see around McCook it states that the local government is not growing, and I understand the premise behind making that statement, but any time you give more money to the government, government is growing, plain and simple.

To quote the great Ronald Reagan, The nine most terrifying words on the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

What ever happened to the concept of self-reliance? In my opinion, the local government or any government entity will not be able to solve this problem of population decline in Southwest Nebraska and therefore fewer people to pay taxes into city coffers. The only thing to correct this problem is unabashed conservative principals and an entrepreneurial spirit to take chances and invest in what McCook has to offer.

This town and this country were not founded on the idea of taxes to solve a problem or grow an economy, but quite to the contrary, taxes were the exact reason for our forefathers seeking a better life and less government control. By the way, historically, governments just get in the way of true economic growth and/or mess good things up such as education, retirement and healthcare.

I must say, the argument that the sales tax is a fair tax is somewhat misleading. For the ones who get to vote on it within the city of McCook and apply a portion of the proceeds to lower their property taxes, sure, but not for those outside city limits who don't get to vote for it.

The only option those who don't get to vote on this issue and are affected by it is to vote with their pocket books and they might do that.

Also, the sales tax idea is better than some others proposed to increase tax revenues to McCook, such as expanding the city limits to include farm ground that has been with families for generations. When I hear someone comment that McCook needs to expand the city limits, I have to ask why, when our population is shrinking?

Those farmers would not be able to afford the city property taxes and be forced to sell their land all in the name of increasing the tax base for the benefit of the whole community. Those who propose ideas such as this one should sell their homes to the city, level the house and build a park on it for the benefit of the whole community. It is the same concept.

One other thing, and this was documented in this publication that I refused to be a part of the committee to draft the ballot. My reasons for that refusal were based on the principal that the city should have voted on this next year during a regular election and not spend tax payer funds for the special election.

The special election was needed because the circumstances are so dire we need to vote now. I for one don't buy that premise. If a majority of residents of McCook felt that the sales tax needed to continue then the votes would be there next year.

If voter turnout is low, I predict these measures will pass and the proponents can rest assured that the money will be there to save McCook.

If voter turnout is high then this issue is less likely to pass because I believe that a majority of McCook residents, like most of the country, don't trust the government to solve problems.

Either way, whether you vote for or against the sales tax questions, your vote should be rooted in principle. If you vote yes on the issues, then do so because you believe that there will be a positive result from the increase, not just good intentions. Good intentions with these tax dollars will not solve the issues facing Southwest Nebraska, only results will.

If you vote against these measures than do your part to help McCook grow by working hard and bring forth ideas that con improve the local economy with less government.

I am fully aware that in taking this stand of limited government and fewer taxes, in some circles I will be criticized and I accept that. Civil debate is a part of every democracy and we as a country need to get back to those ideals. Has anyone given any thought about how McCook has continued to exist or will survive if these measures fail?

As proponents of the McCook city sales tax, do you have any other plans in place beyond increasing taxes? As a member of a family business we have decided to grow our business beyond Southwest Nebraska with the products and services we sell. In doing so, we are drawing in dollars from all over the country to expand the business.

Isn't it strange that the largest percentage of population decline for McCook occurred during a period when we had a 1 percent city sales tax? I know the argument to that is the government just needs more time and money to reverse the trend.

If the majority of votes are for these tax increases, then it is my sincere hope that the funds are invested wisely toward the infrastructure of our community.

Last but not least, whether these measures pass or fail the ultimate judgment will occur beyond ten years from now by future generations.

As for my future generations, I chose to instill the hope and concept of true limited government because only then can one experience the freedom and liberty the founders of this country intended.

If you believe in this concept, then make your voice heard and GET OUT AND VOTE.

Todd Cappel


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  • Be careful on expanding your city limits. Most times that will also bring about a need to install water and sewage and then sidewalks and so forth that will require again more money.

    Not to mention the money spent on engineers and everything to plan the whole thing.

    -- Posted by johncmorris on Tue, Nov 13, 2007, at 12:27 AM
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