Daily Reads

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

State and local politics. Tyranny just looks so friendly....

I just got back onto the town RTM (redundency alert - Representative Town Meeting).  We had two folks from the R side of the aisle resign from District 5, and since the current iteration of the RTM is based on the old district lines, I'm eligible, so proving that I'm still insane, I volunteered.

The RTM's main purpose is to act as the taxpayers' say on the town and BOE budgets, instead of sending them to referendum as most other towns in the area do.

So instead of being able to just look at the bottom line, say "Holy SHIT!!!, You guys want how much more than last year?!?!? No F-ing way!", we have to spend two or three evenings a week starting in late April going over the budget and voting on it line by line by line.

And every single line has at least one person on the RTM who feels that if that line doesn't at least get level funded it's TEOTWAWKI.  I do understand why some members get irritated with the group who've been fighting the increases the hardest because at least one member has a tendency, bless her, to stand up, offer a cut of x%, and the only reason she can give for cutting that line is that taxes are too high.  I can see why some members would like to see it a little better thought out, as in, "Yes, item X#R is a great program.  But, we have to cut something, and I don't feel that it is as high a priority as program TQX."  Personally, I suspect I'm going to piss a lot of people off, because I'm going to go through the budget book over the next week or so, figure out what do I think is most important, which I can tell people right now is public safety and public works, figure out how much we want to cut from the proposed budget, arrange cows in order of priority, and start offering to axe them myself.

But we can't afford the budget the way things are now in town, and Pfizer is about to take about $2M off our tax rolls by tearing down Building 118.  And in all likelihood, they'll be completely gone within the next 5 to 10 years anyway.   Just look what they did to New London.  That $2M is probably around 4%-5% of the town budget which isn't Board of Education.  And since the state thinks we are a distressed community because over 30% of our population is below the poverty line (or something like that), we can't cut a penny from the Ed budget.  It's for the children, don't you know?

And speaking of "for the children" ....

Our state reps are preparing to vote on new gun laws tomorrow, which as of this morning hadn't even been written yet.  And they admit that not a single bit of the proposed legislation, if it had been in effect last year, would have stopped the Sandy Hook shooting from occurring.  But they do want to have every law-abiding gun owner who possesses a magazine which holds 10 or more bullets (or maybe it's over 10) register their magazines with the state by Dec 31st or they will be guilty of a Class D Felony, which carries a minimum 1 year of prison and up to $5K of fine.  Though one talk radio host pointed out that once you're jailed you can get 5 days off per 30 days of sentence for good behaviour - we just don't have the jail space.  That the real felons won't give a damn about this law, and won't be deterred from keeping their high capacity magazines doesn't matter, "It's for the children" and "We have to do something".

Just wait until enough people have 3D printers.  I believe that you can already get files for printing disposable magazines.

Papieren Bitte.

No comments: