Greetings from Raleigh!
I got the rain I wished for in last week’s newsletter. In
fact, we had a real soaker yesterday. Now it’s time to cut the grass.
I have three items for your consideration this week.
1. After building the most expensive high school ever built
in North Carolina, $17 million more than a comparable high school in Wake
County, commissioners in Watauga County want a $1.9 million tax increase. Voters
will decide Aug. 31 if county commissioners can be trusted to spend $1.9
million more of their money wisely or if they will continue their penchant for
extravagant spending. Read the new John Locke Foundation Regional Brief on the issue,
"Boone-Doggle: Watauga County’s proposed $1.9 million tax
2. I am sure you have heard about California’s state and
local government budget crisis. In Oakland, the city council is balancing the
budget by cutting department budgets, including cutting 80 police officers from
the 776-officer police force.
He [Police Chief Anthony Batts] has announced that his
department will no longer respond to citizen calls on 44 criminal and
noncriminal matters typically handled by the police, including grand theft,
burglary, embezzlement and auto accidents.
The city council refused to give in to this threat and
…voted to hire a private security firm, International
Services Inc., to patrol high-crime areas. Four private patrolmen will cost the
city about $200,000 a year — a fifth of what four city police officers would
That’s right, police officers’ average pay and benefits
total about $250,000 per year. Read Florida State University Professor Bruce
Benson’s full account here. He is author of "To Serve and Protect:
Privatization and Community in Criminal Justice."
3. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT)
brings in $4.4 million by selling excess land. Selling unneeded land not only
boosts state coffers, it also provides a benefit for local government.
Selling excess property not only brings in money for MoDOT,
Wood said. "It benefits local public agencies that then maximize their tax
revenue to provide local services, whether it’s for schools, fire departments