Editorials

Two-bit response to nickel back petition

Only about 10,000 signatures to check!

Madison County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza and office staff are checking every signature on tax referendum petitions.
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Madison County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza and office staff are checking every signature on tax referendum petitions.

Government sure loves to take your money without first asking, but holy cow you’d think the world was ending and you’d insulted their mother if you ask for a nickel back.

Madison County politicians, or to be more precise the county’s Democratic politicians, are fighting hard against a Republican-driven petition with nearly 10,000 signatures calling for the county to drop the maximum tax rate from 25 cents per $100 assessed valuation to a maximum of 20 cents. If the petition stands, voters in November will decide whether to limit the county’s portion of the property tax rate.

Madison County Chairman Alan Dunstan doesn’t want voters to have that choice. He said the county only averages 22 cents, so a drop to 20 cents would only save the owner of a $100,000 home about $6 a year. And he says county leaders were able to reduce the amount they sought from property taxpayers last year.

Dunstan’s message seems to be: We can live with less, but don’t force us to live with less.

Then Dunstan explains how the drop to 20 cents will cost the county between 28 and 47 workers, and residents can expect a bunch of them to be law enforcement because they represent the bulk of the county’s workforce. Hard to believe in a county that ran surpluses in nearly every fund last year and had $3.4 million to shift from operating funds to capital projects.

Dunstan’s second message seems to be: Go ahead and save a few bucks on your property taxes, but then you’d better hope your property doesn’t get burglarized because there will be no deputies to respond.

Please.

So now we have the petition and instead of the usual practice of challenging a percentage to ensure the petitions were signed by registered voters who live in Madison County, the powers that be decided to check all 10,000 signatures. Better yet, they are using county clerk workers — some of the same people Dunstan says could lose their jobs if the property tax limit is approved.

No conflicts of interest there.

Sure sounds like Chicken Little is organizing an opposition outfit that resembles the organic material at the bottom of the chicken coop.

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