Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sales Tax

The Eastpointer

.01 Cent Sales Tax

By Richard E. Noble

The new publisher of the Chronicle, surprisingly enough, has asked me to offer, occasionally, some of my personal opinions on local issues in my new column. Actually this may be the first time in my life that anyone has actually asked for my opinion.
The previous owner Mr. Tom Hoffer encouraged me to work for him because he also said that he would like to print some of my ideas and opinions. But whenever I submitted those opinions he had a problem. He rejected on the average 50% of my submitted opinions and ideas. But to his credit he did relent 50% of the time.
In my past life I usually volunteered my opinions even to strangers, unsolicited. But after a number of years of volunteering I discovered that my friendships were getting fewer and fewer and barrooms became a big problem for me. Like the old joke; “I thought he said stand up and he was actually saying shut up.” - and thus I decided to become a writer.
In this way I could vent all of my opinions and ideas and unless some fool decides to publish them, I have no problem. My backup strategy has been the George Washington technique - say as little as possible thus leaving your ignorance to speculation.
My new boss expressed his interest on what I might have to say on the proposed .01 cent sales tax that is being considered by referendum this coming November 6th.
Well, the first question I ask myself is whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing.
It is clearly a good thing in its overall intent. A local hospital benefits everybody. It, of course, helps the local community; it serves the visiting community; it caters to rich and poor alike; it adds to potential positive growth and development; it helps to keep the good medical people in all the peripheral offices and clinics; it benefits the Realtors and the developers; just like a good school system, it increases everyone’s property values, it makes the community more desirable and acceptable to potential new residents and workers, it provides good local jobs - skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled, it is futuristic, its positive and it’s needed and will become even more necessary as the community grows. And last but not least, it is money that will be spent in the United States of America, in this very community, for the benefit of AMERICANS.
Many folks say, Well let’s look at the numbers. What’s the bottom line? Is this thing going to make a profit or a loss?
Well, the bottom line for doing “good” has always been extremely negative. Trying to do good and make things better has always been a big gamble.
But my bottom line evaluation goes like this; What am I being asked to risk or gamble for the possibility of this good thing?
The answer is ... One penny.
This isn’t exactly like risking the family farm. In fact this isn’t even in the category of buying a lottery ticket. This “risk” is just about nothing. And everybody is going to share in this cost - residents and non-residents, rich and poor alike.
My next consideration is whether or not the people who are asking for this tax and sacrifice on my part are decent, honest and truly concerned with doing good and improving things in this community or do they have some suspicious underhanded intentions.
I had been assigned to cover the County Commission meetings for a number of years. And this may be putting myself out on a limb but as I have listened to these representatives from the Hospital, whether they have been the administrators and directors, doctors, nurses, EMT workers, laborers and employees, Hospital Board Members, even the interim temporary management team, I have always come to the same conclusion. I don’t know if these people have been right or wrong but they are certainly sincere and appear to be honest, straight forward and business like. On the local level, many of these people may in fact be some of the best people that this County has to offer. They are concerned, caring, and always talking about the benefit to others and the community. It don’t get no better than that!
And the last thing; what they can spend this money on is outlined in the proposition. By law the money can not be spent for anything not stated in that proposition.
If I had been asked to write that proposition, I would have made it more vague and non-specific to give the hospital and the community more space to move and do different things. From my point of view the proposition is even tighter and more restrictive than I would have liked if I were managing such a project. So I have no beef in that regard.
In conclusion, one penny on a sales tax isn’t going to bust my family budget. A local hospital is a good thing that benefits not only the local community - rich and poor - but the visitors and new potential citizens as well.
I don’t see what this community has to lose. This is a no brainer for me.

Richard E. Noble has been an “Eastpointer” for around thirty years now. He has authored two books: “A Summer with Charlie” which is currently listed on and “Hobo-ing America” which should be listed on Amazon in the not too distant future. Most recently he completed his first novel “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother” which will be published soon.