Friday, July 6, 2012

It’s Like They Were Asking For It

Nature has a funny — not funny ha-ha but funny sheesh — way of teaching us why we have things like firefighters and the taxes to pay for them.

The city where the Waldo Canyon fire destroyed 346 homes and forced more than 34,000 residents to evacuate turned off one-third of its streetlights two years ago, halted park maintenance and cut services to close a $28 million budget gap after sales-tax revenue plummeted and voters rejected a property-tax increase.


Colorado Springs, which depends on sales tax for about half of its revenue, was hit harder than most. The city — the birthplace 20 years ago of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which later passed statewide and has been pushed around the country to restrict government spending — became a high-profile example of cost-cutting. The law restricts government spending to the previous year’s revenue, adjusted only for population growth and inflation.

The sad part of this — aside from the loss of property and livelihood — is that this lesson will most likely be lost on the people who could learn the most from it. But I’m sure there is some anti-taxer standing out there in the smoldering ruins of what was once his own house saying that it was God’s will and that raising taxes to pay for firefighters is a frivolous waste of his money when it could be spent on more important things like a car elevator.