Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Holy pathetic bias, Batman. Also, the County hates you

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Holy pathetic bias, Batman. Also, the County hates you

To hear the Kansas City Star tell it, the people of Johnson County are just pining for a massive tax increase. This story, about citizens just begging for a whopping 14 percent tax increase, is absolute garbage. 

And the bias -- in a news story!! -- is so obvious it's as if the Star isn't even pretending to be impartial any more. I know I shouldn't be shocked, and yet, truly, I am.

The Johnson County Board of Commissioners hosted a public hearing on its proposed 2016 budget. Honestly, we should all be ashamed. This county is undeniably blessed. The average value of our inexpensive homes (when compared to the rest of the country) is up by 7 percent on average. Without a rate increase, the county bounty would increase by 7 percent in 2016. That's WELL over the average annual CPI or consumer price index. It peaked in the Kansas City area at 4.4 percent back in 2011. 

But a 7 percent increase isn't enough for the greedy bastards that sit on our BOCC. They demand more. Paying off well-connected friends is expensive. (Ahem. King Louie.) Pardon the language. I am just beside myself.

Leaving well enough alone, or using the existing property tax rate, Johnson Countians would still be paying more in taxes next year. But as an insult, the commission has proposed a budget that actually increases the rate in addition to the increases built in by increasing property values. The county's proposed rate increase is DOUBLE the average raises employers say they intend to give to employees. The average worker is barely keeping ahead of inflation, but you know who's way, way, way ahead of inflation without increasing tax rates? Johnson County Government.

I am disappointed that more conservatives did not attend the budget hearing. I am disgusted to the point of punching something that a reporter attended the meeting and actually BELIEVED that all of those clamoring for a tax increase were real, informed people sincerely concerned about loss of county services and not just Friends of Ed attending and speaking as a personal favor. 

Somehow, we're expected to believe the citizens of this county, which judging from the 2014 election is more conservative than it's been in years, are now desperate to abscond more money for things like the JO. Truly, for what we spend on the (almost ALWAYS vacant) JO, we could probably buy the bus system's regular riders used cars for less money.

And don't get me started on the library. I haven't set foot in a public library in probably a decade. It's not that I don't like to read. I'm an avid reader. Me like books. A lot. But between the wide availability of the Internet and school districts throwing Ipads at everything that moves, there's just not much need to fund a bunch of buildings and over-educated staff. No offense to Librarians. But it's hard for me to understand why everyone who works in a library must have a master's degree to help people search the Internet and use the Dewey decimal system. I learned the Dewey in grade school, and most preschoolers can probably out search engine me. And let's not pretend that the library is providing valuable Internet access to underserved areas. It's not like JC is putting its libraries in trailer parks. The county library system seems well-suited to serve the upperest middle class parts of the county. 

And for the love of Pete, the parks system! Those boneheads on the parks board are driving up the cost of land all around the county. The parks system owns large swaths of undeveloped land, making land more expensive, driving up the value of property, which in turn means more tax dollars. It's quite the racket the parks board is running. Meanwhile, EVERYONE is in the parks game. City taxes go to parks. School taxes are used for recreational facilities and events. If you're goofy enough to live in a place with a home owner's association, your fees likely also pay for parks. Someone please tell me when we will be adequately funding parks. By the way, I can count on one hand the number of times I went to a county/city park last year. I have a swing set and a gym membership.

My unrelenting disappointment in the county commission is, well, I'm having trouble finding words. The county hates its citizens. The county staff wishes to steal from us at the threat of jail to line their own pockets, and our elected officials are complicit in it. 

If Johnson County, Kansas, is too broke to continue without raising property taxes above and beyond CPI and anticipated employer raises, how on earth are other counties surviving? At some point, we all may as well just have the county government take all of our money and they can give each of us an allowance. 

Someone needs to fire Hannes Zacharias, and Johnson County citizens, we need to do some soul searching about the members of the BOCC. Any commissioner who votes for the adoption of this abomination of a budget should be promptly run out of town.

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