Is Eagle County getting its money’s worth?
Spending priorities may be different, but most people do not want to pay for anything, in the private or the public sector, unless they are getting their money’s worth. This includes everything from open space to paper towels. Why do you think the stores are a mob scene on the day after Christmas when everything is on sale? The average American consumer wants to get their money’s worth and would prefer a deal.
The successful businesses in the private sector understand this concept. If a local fast food place offered the exact same sandwich as its competitor across the street for $2 more, it would soon be out of business. The consumer would spend money at the business that offers the same sandwich for less money.
The public sector has a monopoly on some services that the private sector does not provide, such as road improvements, law enforcement, public safety and national defense. Historically, monopolies have been inefficient and hurt the consumer. This is one of the reasons the federal government regulates monopolies in the private sector. On the federal level, I believe we would have bipartisan agreement that the Federal government has not become more efficient as our taxes have increased. So why should we start down that road of paying more taxes to the Eagle County government? Are we sure that the county government is using the tax dollars they already get as efficiently as possible, like a private business?
If the county insists on keeping all the extra property tax money that would come if the commissioners decide not to lower the mill levy, we need to be convinced that we are getting our money’s worth from the tax dollars that are already being spent.
Does the county government use our tax dollars efficiently when it competes with the private sector, instead of partnering with local businesses? Does government cheat enterprising small businesses when it takes on services that belong in the private sector?
One great example of this is the many parents who provide quality child care in their home so they can supplement their income and spend more time with their own children. Government-run child care hurts these businesses when it starts a competing child care center.
Another example is all the county and town tax dollars that have been spent on economic development initiatives. Why not support the local chambers of commerce, but let the chambers, not the county, take the lead? The chambers are the experts in this area, because they interface with the business community every day. I am sure they know how to proceed without spending tax dollars on new logos, endless studies and a makeover.
It’s time to look more closely at what we are paying for with tax dollars that should be done in the private sector. The competitive environment of the private sector forces businesses to be more efficient. When a private sector business provides services, the business pays taxes that fund necessary government services ” like building better roads to improve traffic flow.
When the public sector takes business away from the private sector, it hurts the community twice. First, tax dollars are taken away from other higher priority items like public safety and roads. Second, it hurts small businesses that are providing these services, and they pay less in taxes as their revenue declines.
Government monopolies are never more efficient than the private sector, no matter if the business is for-profit or nonprofit. Personally, I would rather give more money from my pocket to local charitable non-profits, the local chamber and other local business than to the county government. These organizations operate on small budgets and use my money wisely.
I am not blindly supporting the lowering of taxes; I just want to get my money’s worth from the taxes I am already paying to Eagle County, before they start taking more out of my pocket.
Debbie Buckley is a former Avon Town councilor. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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