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Could be Junction City
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Fans of the Mel Brooks comedy classic, “Young Frankenstein” still laugh at the wonderful scene when Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman are digging up their “corpse.”
Wilder complains about what a filthy job it is.
Could be worse, Feldman observes.
How? Wilder asks.
Could be raining, he comments.
And, of course, at that moment the drenching downpour begins.
It’s a similar situation for Great Bend.
When we think about local challenges we face, we should remember things could be worse.
Could be Junction City.
There they are looking to Gov. Sam Brownback to sign off on a bill that will allow the community to have a five-year extension on elevated municipal debt limits.
As was explained this week by the Associated Press, “The bill approved with bipartisan support by the House and Senate would allow the city’s debt cap to remain at 37 percent of property valuations into 2016 rather than resetting at 34 percent during 2013. The bill allows the city’s debt ceiling to be no higher than 34 percent from 2016 to 2020, rather than dropping to 30 percent in 2016.”
That sounds bad — whatever it means.
It sounds like Junction City taxpayers are going to be left holding the bag, and they are.
While most of us may not be up on city debt caps, we can understand other issues that the AP explained, noting that “action taken to raise local property and sales taxes, increase city fees, reduce the city payroll and reduce city operating expenditures might not be enough to sidestep financial collapse driven by a flawed effort to capitalize on the U.S. Army troop expansion at Fort Riley.”
We know what increased property taxes are, even if they come because of increased valuations that are NOT offset by cuts in mill levies.
And we know what increased sales taxes are, as we continue to see the lack of income growth eaten away by constant inflation.
We also understand the rest of that observation, which is just as crucial here as it is in Junction City.
That whole issue about “reduce the city payroll and reduce city operating expenditures” isn’t always all that popular, you don’t commonly have people lining up to support cuts that mean their pet project won’t get supported, but it’s the only way that we will keep from being in the same boat as Junction City — and Washington, D.C., for that matter.
The good news is that we have had a tendency to keep a close tab on local spending, though not everyone is supportive of every project that takes local funding.
Sadly, it is at the local level that taxpayers actually have some input on how their assets are managed.
Now, if the state and federal spenders were as answerable as our local officials are, we would see some real tax cut improvements.
But as long as we continue to live in the United Pork of America, that’s not likely to happen.
— Chuck Smith