Local government should not play gift giver with our money

The County voted to adopt the proposed budget for fiscal year 2004 this past Tuesday, and in doing so continued to expand its socialist based programs even further.

The following are just a few items that were contained in the proposed budget:

? A Nutrition Education program to “help families and individuals manage resources and eat nutritiously.” ($65,791)

? A Financial Management Education program that “teaches individuals to manage their personal finances and prepare for home ownership.” ($60,813)

? A Housing Counseling program that “teaches individuals to manage their personal finances to maintain home ownership.” ($65,553)

? A Parent Education program that “provides information to equip parents to raise and nurture children and strengthen family relationships.” ($199,833)

? An Environmental Education program that “helps people make wise decisions related to lawn, landscape, and well and septic system practices based on the latest land grant university research.” ($92,133)

? The 4-H Education Center for “youth and adults which include adult education facilities, retreat/meeting facilities, and camp and special interest programs for youth.” ($4,000)

? An annual contribution to the Northern Virginia Community College “to fund capital and operating expenses for regional campuses.” ($309,676)

? An Office On Youth which; “identifies and prioritizes youth needs though forums and surveys targeting youth, youth-serving professionals, and the community…” “…provides information on youth-related issues and inquires.” and “sponsors and co-sponsors community education workshops, seminars, conferences and programs.” ($203,730)

? Annual funding of the America Red Cross ($5,000)

This list doesn’t even begin to address the scope of the problem. In addition to these indiscriminate allocations of taxpayer funds you can add; public health, housing and community development, discretionary accounts, subsidized bus and train transportation, libraries, and social services ranging from those for at-risk youth to seniors. All of which should be funded through private donations, charities, churches, community organizations and user fees.

Those in government suffer from the disillusion that citizens are too greedy to help those in need or are incapable of making intelligent decisions about where to donate their money. Bureaucrats feel obligated to redistribute our money to those who they believe truly need it, even if it is less efficient due to the administration costs of an additional middleman.

There is an old story about Colonel David Crockett who was told by one of his constituents, Horatio Bunce, that although he had originally voted for Mr. Crockett he would not do so in the next election. When asked why he refused to vote for Mr. Crockett again, Mr. Bunce referred to a $20,000 appropriation Mr. Crockett voted in favor of, that passed the previous year, to help women and children who were homeless due to a fire in Georgetown.

This took Colonel Crockett by surprise, as he couldn’t believe such a small sum would upset anyone when used toward the worthy cause of charity for those suffering from such an unfortunate event. Mr. Bunce informed him that it was not the amount, but the principle.

He explained; “If you have the right: to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive, what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other.”

Of course we continue to move in the direction of the former (and failed) Soviet Union by adding to our list of entitlements. Some of the “Basic Rights” of the 1977 Constitution of the USSR are:

? Article 42; “Citizens of the USSR have the right to health protection.”

? Article 43; “Citizens of the USSR have the right to maintenance in old age, in sickness, and in the event of complete or partial disability or loss of the breadwinner.”

? Article 44; “Citizens of the USSR have the rights to housing.”

? Article 45; “Citizens of the USSR have the right to education.”

? Article 46; “Citizens of the USSR have the right to enjoy cultural benefits.”

At this point in history it is shocking that those who consider themselves to be fiscally conservative oppose reducing our excessive taxes let alone oppose a cap against future increases. I urge the citizens of Prince William County, in both the upcoming primaries and the general election, to vote against those candidates who have not pledged to place a cap on spending and growth.

James Simpson lives in the Peoples Republic of Prince William County. He welcomes reader feedback and can be reached at [email protected]