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It is unusual to find John Pawlak and Robert Gibson on the same page!
No, not unusual in the Los Alamos Monitor, but both opposing government expenditures as wasteful.
Let me first dispose of John, whose columns I regularly enjoy, as easier. He complains that the US loses $80 million per year minting pennies. This means that it costs each citizen about a quarter each year to maintain the penny. While I also lament that inflation has ruined the meaning of “A penny saved is a penny earned,” this does not seem to me to be exceptionally expensive. Canada and Australia will presumably save only $8 million per year since they are both about one-tenth of the U.S. in every measure except land area. No John, dropping the penny is not the answer; we need massive deflation like we had during the Great Depression! (By the way, did you know that in 1864, a cup of coffee cost about five Confederate dollars?)
Bob is more astonishing. He asserts that our taxes are “already high.”
There is no rational basis for this statement — our property mil rate is about half that of Albuquerque and our GRT is similar. Even if our average property value were twice that of Albuquerque, our taxes would not be high for New Mexico, a state known for its poverty and inadequate government services. What do you call an “opinion” that diverges so far from fact?
On the positive side, Bob makes clear that he is no politician, since he refuses to recognize that the wants of a democratic community are its needs -- except that few seem to be willing to pay for what they get, that is, pay our taxes for the higher quality services and amenities that we enjoy in our county. And while I agree with him about the value of broadband for our community, he is imperious in declaring that grandparents have no need to take their grandchildren to a leisure pool, or that White Rock can be treated poorly relative to The Hill, or any of the other widely supported public initiatives brought before the CIP committee. (Here I must make explicit that while I serve on that committee, I am speaking only for myself.)
I must also agree with Bob on another point: County government lacks a long-term capital plan. I suspect this is a hangover from before 2006, at which time the county suddenly acquired a more than adequate GRT income, but this lack should be rectified.
As the “richest county in America,” there is a lot we can afford to make Los Alamos a very desirable place to live and visit. But only if we are willing to pay for what we get.