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Domestic Violence and Tax Caps

October 13, 2011 - John Stack
One major argument from proponents of tax caps is the ignorant view that ‘ If government was run like a business, it would be much better’ or something along those lines. But, government isn’t a business. It does not act in a way that has anything to do with a business or markets or economies. Government is there to get citizens items they cannot get by themselves. A school is a perfect example. If we all had to educate our own children, or send our kids to private schools, the majority of Americans would not be educated. Is a near completely uneducated society better than one that legally forces government to educate our children? It would take about 5 minutes for a minor country like Afghanistan to overrun the US if we had the most illiterate people on earth. So, Mr or Mrs tax ignorant tax cap proponent. (I’m not saying all tax cap proponents are ignorant of what the tax cap means, I’m saying many do not) I guess you believe that the tax cap will only force better efficiencies. Better ways to run government. It will get rid of the bloat! It will cause sacrifices, such as fewer hours at library, less upkeep at the park, end such. As long as we have law and order in the streets, an educated populace and clean drinking water we can cut cut cut. Well, let me tell you a story…

Do you think domestic abuse cases should be prosecuted? How about if your sister/daughter/girlfriend/child/parent was being battered or assaulted? Should these people be held responsible? Go through the court system? Maybe be jailed/fined/disciplined? Given a deterrent to future violence? I think we’d all agree (except for the abusers and real committed libertarians) that this would be a horrible injustice. But not if you are living with tax cuts and you live in Topeka Kansas.

Shawnee County Kansas law enforcement officials have stopped investigating domestic violence abuse cases. The city of Topeka repealed the city's domestic abuse law designed to ensure the city wouldn't be stuck with the bill for prosecuting such cases. Read that again. Because of budget cuts, the city has repealed the city domestic abuse law. Topeka has had at least 35 reported incidents of domestic battery or assault since early September. Those cases are not being pursued, and as of last Friday,(October 7th) 18 people jailed have been released without facing charges, according to Topeka police.

Now do you still think big blunt hammers of tax/revenue cutting is such a great idea? In Topeka, they don’t even have the so-called safety valve of passing a tax increase by a 60% vote. They MUST cut. THIS is what the city chose to cut. In New York, we hear of public defender’s offices being chronically understaffed. Many people don’t really care, because they equate public defenders with defending useless drug dealers anyway. How about when the prosecutor’s office is being clobbered? In Topeka, they only have the money to prosecute felony cases. They just let go any misdemeanor offenders run free on the streets. Ya know. Punching your preganant wife in the face in front of the kids and locking her out of the house in January. No police are going to come running to help. Too bad.

But this can’t happen here, right? Because we have the 60% overrule law, right? Wrong. The 60% safety valve was in and of itself designed to be a political hot potato. Locally, many legislative bodies have or are considering overrides so they can exceed the 2% levy increase cap. The law isn’t to pass a budget with a greater than 2% levy increase. This law has to be passed WELLLL in advance of the final budget. Many are passing, or trying to pass, the law so that if emergencies happen, or the cuts would be too draconian, they have the OPTION to exceed the cap. The legislators can’t wait until December and then say ‘we can’t get the levy increase below 2%, we are going to pass a law to exceed the 2%’. Can’t happen. The law has to be proposed, and public hearings must be set and established. It is easy to see where most municipalities won’t expect they would have the need (or public support) for even proposing a tax cap override even before the budget is finalized.

Many people don’t realize the cap has absolutely nothing to do with increasing spending. It is the levy, which is how much must be paid by taxpayers after all other revenues such as state aid, federal aid, sales taxes, fees etc.. are used. NYS has been cutting aid to everyone the last couple years, then claiming that localities are spending beyond their means when often the locality is cutting and it’s the State that is actually causing the problem. If the taxing jurisdiction finds itself in a bind, with no relief from a tax increaee, they will have to make cuts. And they will be harsh, and often political. The worst case scenario is being played out in Kansas. Don’t think it won’t happen here…

 
 

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