Kinky Friedman

     There seems to be a madness that is gripping not only the nation but state and local.  All politics start local and the strengths and weaknesses work their way to the top.  So it appears that things are in a state of madness and there is a lot of words back and forth and very little listening.  In order to fix things at the top you have to fix things close to you.  This makes me wonder what possesses people to do things they do even when they have a good point and it ends up hurting everyone and eventually themselves.

     There is a money problem in our state and though there is much ranting and raving at the top, what is going on at the bottom?  Every week I seem to read the names of farms, ranches, businesses, and people who have paid their taxes under protest or not at all.  This ties up the money so the local and state governments cannot use it.  Ordinarily it is a good way to get attention for a perceived wrong, but it is supposed to be addressed and some action taken and the money allocated the right direction.

     What the protests have been locally seem to be over the severance tax and the evaluation of the property to determine tax owed.  It is fine to utilize your rights to try and address a problem but at some point it has to be resolved.  I don’t begin to understand what is holding things up here, but our county, state, cities, and townships are being crippled by the never ending stoppage of tax money paid and held.  Everything that government is actually good at is being stopped.

     As an example, our county has the highest participation rate in 4H in the state.  We have a very active extension units among our female population.  We are the largest cow calf production county in the state.  We have two great Extension Agents who do a lot of work that contributes to both the youth and adults in our county.  Our 4H meat judging team not only won state competition but placed sixth nationally.  We are in danger of losing our full time agents to a districting plan because the money to fund Extension state wide is being crippled.

     The entire reason for the agricultural and extension universities is to not only educate undergraduate students, but also to extend into research, youth, adult, and post graduate education.  Thus the research stations and the extension agents are supposed to be the direct connection to the tax paying public.  At this they excel.

     By the misreading of the state income every budget year and the protest by taxpayers tying up the money the problems get worse and end up hurting the ones needing the help in the first place.  Until the problems are addressed and the taxes actually freed up do not expect the roads, emergency services, and other governmental functions to increase or maintain the status quo.  Elected officials are limited to making use of the funds that are actually in the bank.  If the funding is not freed up soon expect changes to take place that are irreversibly in the future.

     There seems to be a concept that has been lost in our world today and that is personal responsibility.  There are any number of quaint old sayings that our grandparents used to say and I will not say them all here, with the exception of one.  YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.  Don’t expect the mill levy to go down if you tie up the money.  It will cost everyone more because the things you take for granted are not free and someone has to pay for it.

     I understand standing up for what is right and standing your ground, but it is time for the correction of the money held up and the problems settled.  Until this country decides that energy produced in this country is worth paying for, the revenues will be tight.  Until someone quits manipulating the AG markets and allows for a true price for our products to allow a profit everything will continue in a circling downward spiral.  If we address our problems in our own backyard then we can continue to address them up the political chain.  It just requires everyone to do their part.

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