Many of your readers may remember the television sitcom of the 1970s called “Welcome Back Kotter.” The show takes place in a fictional remedial classroom in a Brooklyn, N.Y., high school. The students of the class called themselves the “Sweathogs.” One oddball but lovable character of the cast was named Arnold Horshack. Arnold would often hang his head out the building window and shout that “we are fed up with this and we are not going to take it any longer.”
Like Arnold, the taxpayers of Jefferson County are telling their elected representatives on public boards they are fed up with this. They are fed up with all the excess taxing and spending by the city, county and some school districts. They are frustrated and angered. They perceive many public officials have an attitude that thinks the only way to solve a problem is to throw more money at it though increased taxation.
The Mt. Vernon City Schools District 80 officials exemplified this attitude when they recently announced they will be seeking an 8 percent increase in property taxes for next year. One board member stated that, “we need to get every possible dime we can.”
His mindset is typical of many board members. Rather than saying, “we need to get all we can,” he and fellow board members should focus on doing better with what they receive. Remember, they recently stood up and stated the reason for a deficit budget was the result of a project that was over budget and not finished on time. Should taxpayers be asked to pay for this?
The Jefferson County Board is another example of this attitude. Some board members state they have no public position on invoking a new sales tax for the renovation of the courthouse. Yet, they send out other board members in townhall meetings to sell the idea and need for an increased sales tax to renovate the facility — somehow that does not seem plausible.