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Saturday, February 14, 2009

"Small Steps"

The backlash will come as surely as spring follows winter. As with all things great in scope, large in effect; this backlash has started with small steps. We will not be able to stand in retrospect and say it started with a specific incident. Of course we will obsess on one incident, but like the Boston Tea Party what we pick to represent the start will have actually been a long time in the making. That had been bubbling from the bottom up for a long time. That is what got our forbearers on the boats to start with. A need for individual freedom to run our own individual lives.

This current backlash we will say came about because of unfunded spending. From spending more than we make. From a near multi trillion dollar give away program. This is just a symptom of the cause however. But as our Nation, State and local government goes bankrupt and the people in power because they have bought their way to it; who can no longer find the bribe money will seek another band wagon.

Individual freedom is at the core of this. As with most things I don’t do anything about something until it affects me directly. I’m in the majority in that regard. As I slowly lose my individual freedom at the behest of the common good, I will start to do something.

I hope the Republican party will stand up and seize this opportunity. I hope it doesn’t let the Democrats co-opt this issue too. I see all around me the Democrats picking up the mantles we have given up on. The new Dems are starting to fall into the idea of changing the educational system. Enhancing free enterprise at least for minorities and women.

That was why I went to the last City Commission meeting. It was not a full meeting where things were decided, but a type of informational meeting. Some proposals were floated by people for the consideration of the Commission. The one I was interested in was put forth from “Main Street”. An organization whose funding had dried up, who was looking for funding through forming a downtown taxing authority. Their proposal was to raise the money needed to fund their group through first forming this group then taxing the business’ in the new taxing authority thus created. By placing a special assessment tax on each business in the district.

The purpose of the group was to allure new business to the downtown district. From all accounts they had done this. Now they were looking for permanent status. The irony of it all was that to attract the business’ they did, the group set up government low interest loans and gave them property tax breaks. Now they wanted to tax those very people. Sounded real familiar to me. Too familiar to me and I thought here was a chance for me to voice my concerns. Some of those business people were in the audience and made themselves heard. I sat and started to lose my anger. Even some local politicians voiced opposition.

From what I could tell, the “group” was one man working full time and a part time employee. Their proposal included a $12,000 increase over last years budget for what they did then they added an extra $35,000 for snow plowing and an extra $5,000 for advertising.

The Muskegon City Commission is hugely Democratic and even the majority of them seemed taken aback by the proposal. In this time of financial trouble here was a group that lost it’s funding and expected the business’ they were helping to get a foothold in the downtown to take over their funding. Not only that but to increase that funding, for what was originally a temporary program. It was nice to see common sense prevail.

I felt the tea floating in Muskegon Lake. It was thrown into the Lake not just because of this one group asking for the moon when they didn’t deserve it. The backlash was from the people who were giving out the money (or at least to legalize the extortion) were already being squeezed because of a lack of money available for their own pet projects. This was just a little over the top even for the City Commission. Here was a chance also form them to act a little financially self righteous for a change. Here was the opening we as Conservative Republicans needed. This was perfect. A chance to stand up for small business, to argue against government bureaucracy. This is why I went, thinking I would be the only voice in the wilderness.

I was pleased my voice wasn’t even needed. There were plenty of voices. A lot of them were of the other party. Some weren’t. David Farhat our own newly elected Muskegon County Republican Chairman owns a building in the downtown and he stood up and explained how he only had 3 tenants and his rent was the cheapest in town. He couldn’t attract any more. He couldn’t understand how adding a couple of thousand to his tax bill forcing him out of business or to raise rents would remedy that situation. He also brought up a good point when he wondered why the huge Renovated Amazon building which is mainly made up of condos wasn’t going to be taxed in the plan at least for the condos. He did give the best line of the night which went something like this at the end of his remarks. “I haven’t heard of a saying that says. Tax it and they will come”. Great line, had everyone snickering if not outright laughing.

I wish he could of let people know he was a Republican. I guess he felt it would be better if he didn’t mention it. Something probably to do with bipartisan ship. I would like to see bipartisan ship include Democrats agreeing to Republican ideals for a change. Anyway I digress. Did I tell you that David Farhat is considering a run for Jerry Van Workhom’s term limited state senate seat?

It was nice to see some rays of light where I thought there was only darkness, in this wilderness. Perhaps as I look more I will see more. Perhaps by the seeing I will do more. As sure as Spring follows Winter we have to make ourselves the voice of that backlash or the Democrats will be the ones saying, as the fabled Hen said; "Then I will eat the bread".

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

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