Municipalities Are Scraping for Nickels

By Jeff Davis. America’s municipalities are getting desperate and are scraping for nickels. Local tax revenue plunges as housing values sink and unemployment stays high. The children of illegal aliens impose a crippling burden on small towns. Some towns set up speed traps, which steal from everyone, including the poor. A few local governments have raised property taxes even though housing values have plunged. Many home-owners are retirees on a fixed income or unemployed with no income. Property tax increases plunder what little money they have left.

The Providence Journal reports: “A taxpayer rally to protest the city’s substantially increasing local car taxes got off to a slow and damp start at City Hall Monday but grew quickly with protesters opting to avoid the wet sidewalks and instead assemble in the council chambers to await the 7 p.m. start. By 6 p.m., more than 120 people had gathered and were conducting their own meeting, taking turns at the podium to decry the tax increase. The council, which was holding its committee meetings, as usual, in a small basement room, was intermittently off-limits to protesters as people with business before the committees took up the available 49 seats. Fire officials were on hand to keep count of the number of people in the room in the basement. As seats became vacant, uniformed police officers allowed protesters in.”

“There was a strong police presence both inside and outside City Hall, with uniformed officers at some of the exterior doors and cruisers deployed around the building. ‘What is this, the Kremlin?’ Cote said after learning that people were being turned away.”

So when city officials are faced with a large mob of irate citizens, they dig up a fire code rule as an excuse to keep most of the angry mob outside.

The article goes on “In passing its current budget in June, Warwick, like many other municipalities in Rhode Island, eliminated a $6,000 exemption on automobile values for tax purposes, leaving residents with a $500 maximum exemption. The General Assembly last year gave cities and towns the option to reduce the auto exemption to make up for cuts in state aid to municipalities.”

Nobody has any money any more, and small white-controlled towns like Warwick, Rhode Island aren’t exactly on the top of the list for federal funds, not that it would help much if they were. The Feds are increasingly short on money to help local government, using borrowed and inflated newly-printed dollars that are worth less and less to pay their bills.

Some towns are laying off police and firefighters. Some are closing hospitals and libraries. Some are laying off garbage collectors and everything from clerks to dogcatchers. What will happen to local government, that provides most of the genuinely essential services in any community, when it just keeps on getting worse?

And it will, you know. There is no end in sight, and the worst is yet to