Other Voices: Once upon a time, in a prosperous and free land
Once there was a land where the villages were able to locally assess and tax their property owners for enough money to pay for the village’s schools, public health and safety protection, and for other locally needed vital services.
This worked well into the 20th century. The village property owners contributed their property taxes not only for the overall welfare of the village but the property owners also benefited from their taxes being paid directly to the village’s economy because they knew their property taxes were used by the village to directly protect their property investment in direct proportion to their assessed value of their property that they were paying taxes on.
All was fair. The local tax assessor and tax collector were locally elected and were totally accountable to the local voters and property owners. Taxes were justified and were well spent for the benefit of the property owner and the village.
Then one day, the land’s central government passed a law that said the villages now must send almost all of the property taxes collected by the village tax collector to the central government, which would then “best” determine how those funds would be spent. Of course, the central government must keep a percentage of those taxes to pay the salaries of those who determine how the money would be “best” redistributed back to the villages.
Also, laws were passed by the central government that imposed obligations onto the villages (that then in return) depended on the central government’s “charity” to give back to the village some of the money collected by the village.
More laws were passed by the central government to impose restrictions on how the money could be used that were collected by the village and then returned to the village by the central government at the whim of the central government.
In essence, the central government (the state) told the local villages: “You can elect your local tax assessor and tax collector so you can feel good about the process of free elections, but the state will now control how your locally elected officials will run their village departments and those duly elected officials will have no say to their electorate on how their properties are assessed, or how their property taxes are collected and spent, because your locally elected officials are now bound by state law in how they perform their duties.”
Then the state went into a huge budget deficit and started taking more money from the villages.
You may say this sounds like a typical Soviet-style election process, where everyone goes through the motions of a free election only to discover the controls over the people they elect are a foregone conclusion based on state law and that the state will govern you according to the state laws and not your village needs.
Sorry to inform you, the village is Nevada County and the central government is the state of California. This sad situation is not the result of Proposition 13 as many in state government would like you to believe (Google and read Prop. 13 for yourself).
Do you want to change this reality? Vote for candidates who share the views of the Nevada County Tea Party Patriots. This nonpartisan organization’s scrutiny over our politicians is our current opportunity for turning California back to a prosperous and free land.
James Coe lives in Grass Valley.
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