Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

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Philip Roy
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

Question to all Mainers

Do you feel Towns, Cities, and Counties should fund through your property tax dollars, Special interests groups?

1. Catholic Charities?
2. Senior Spectrum?
3. Red Cross?
4. Combat?
5. Mane Public Radio?
6. CAP Transportation Agency's?
7. Homeless Shelter?
8. Salvation Army?
9. Head Start Programs?
10. Hospice Agency's
11. Rape Crisis Center?
12. Cerebral Palsy?
13. Crisis & Counseling?
14. Food Pantry working out of Churches?

These are just a few, the reason I ask is that we as Elected Officials at the local and county levels are hit by these agency's year after year to use your tax dollars to help there budgets.
I will post my own feelings shortly but before I do I would like to know yours. Please understand I think all of the above are wonderful agency's but should we be funding them with your Property Tax Dollars? :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:

Roger Ek
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

With a few exceptions, local governments know that it is far more efficient for private organizations to meet these needs than government agencies like DHHS. They get more bang for the buck.

Philip Roy
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

But Roger EK

Should we use your tax dollars to fund these with a total of over 100,000 combined?

democrat
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

That's for the voters to decide. Every year at town meeting we vote on which agencies will receive money. Sometimes they get some, sometimes they don't. It depends on who shows up and whether there are other needs, like a fire truck.

Philip Roy
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

So Democrat: What should the Counties do? there is no town meeting process just a budget Committee and the County Commissioners have the last say on what is spent?

I ask these questions due to the fact, as a Commissioner I have felt we shouldn't use tax dollars to fund these items.

bob emrich
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

If these services are needed....
If private agencies can/do provide services more efficiently than the county...why not?

Melvin Udall
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

Efficiencies aside, my take is that officials have no business making donations with our dollars on our behalf.

Our town pays "dues" etc to a few "organizations that I'm not crazy about. I don't remember now who it was, but I got the figures and decided it wasn't worth making a frontal assault. It might have been MDF and some similar groups.

If towns and counties make "donations," inevitably, there will be pressures to increase them year by year. Net result....charities become government dependents just like individuals do, and individuals saying "I gave at town hall."

Philip Roy
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

[quote="bob emrich"]If these services are needed....
If private agencies can/do provide services more efficiently than the county...why not?[/quote]

So Bob, is it ok to go to the Towns and ask for money and then come to the County and ask for more money? and please tell me what the above agencys do for the County? Other then help some of the Citizens for what serves they provide.

How do they effect the County directly to the extent the County can control what they do to make sure there money is spent wisely. When I have agencies that work with the elderly (I like this agency) but should we fund Meals on Wheels, it that a County Function?

Small Town Selectman
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

In our town, the selectmen have a policy that all of these types of funding requests must be presented via petition. If no one shows up at Town Meeing to advocate for those articles that make it to the warrant, the article is generally defeated. My personal feeling is that no level of government ought to be funding these types of agencies. "$500 here.....$1000 there.....pretyy soon you are talkng aobut some real money" (apologies to Senator Dirksen) :D :D

STS

Town Manager
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

Philip makes a very good point. There is a lot of "double dipping" from both the towns and cities and then the County. I would rather see these agencies figure out what it is they need from property tax to supplement their budget or in some cases, trigger federal funding, and get the appropriation from the County only. This way everyone in the county pays their fair share and it could even be decided by county wide referendum.

bob emrich
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

[quote="Philip Roy"]So Bob, is it ok to........? and please tell me .....................?
How do they effect the County.......? Is that a County Function?[/quote]

I don't know.
note the two big "IFs" in my earlier post.
It seems that answering these questions is the responsibility of the county commissioners. I know these are the questions we ask (and answer) when we vote on the same things at town meeting.

I am not advocating one way or the other. But it seems to me that the more we encourage (and help) private agencies, the smaller government becomes and the more help is actrually given to those who need it.

Personally, I think that the tiny donations typically made by towns and counties are unlikely to matter much either way.

Mark T. Cenci
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

I disagree Bob. Private charities don't operate more effectively and efficiently by definition.

They do so because of the factor of accountability to their donors.

Going to the Taxman for funding removes that accountability by at least one layer.

This is a way to pollute and weaken the work of private organizations, not strengthen them.

bob emrich
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

I was thinking about it more from the county or town perspective, since that was the original question.
btw, I have seen very little accountability for spending on any level of government.
It is amusing at town meetings when millions are spent without question and then a 30 minute debate happens over $100 to Red Cross, etc.

Mark T. Cenci
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

[quote="bob emrich"]
I am not advocating one way or the other. But it seems to me that the more we encourage (and help) private agencies, the smaller government becomes and the more help is actrually given to those who need it.

quote]

Did I misinterpret this Bob? This is what I disagree with.

Philip Roy
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

I'm lost so bob are you saying its ok to give Property Tax Dollars to these groups? Someone hit me over the head with a fry pan. you say they can do it better. do what they do not work for the County or towns if they sup contract so be it but they do nothing to help pay the tax in there towns most of them have Tax Exempt property for god sake.

Dan Billings
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

Many of the groups get money from federal, state, county, and local government.

In Bowdoinham, we used to vote on individual social service agency requests. It took a lot of time and each year some group would get organized and get their request increased. The total amount spent increased every year.

When I was on the Board of Selectmen in the early 1990's, we decided to lump all requests together into one budget line item with the Selectmen deciding where the money was to go each year. If the Town Meeting wanted to increase the total amount spent, the Town Meeting could do that.

The resul of this change in process is the total amount being spent has not increased in 15 years.

Robert
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Re: Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollar

[quote="Philip Roy"]

Do you feel Towns, Cities, and Counties should fund through your property tax dollars, Special interests groups?

:?:[/quote]

[b]NO.[/b] This is nothing more than redistribution of wealth. I disagree with the philosophy of a few of the organization you list, and would never voluntarily donate to them. I consider myself to be generous to others with whom I agree with. I should be able to decide where and to who, my money helps!

JIMV
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Re: Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollar

[quote="Philip Roy"]Question to all Mainers

Do you feel Towns, Cities, and Counties should fund through your property tax dollars, Special interests groups?

1. Catholic Charities?
2. Senior Spectrum?
3. Red Cross?
4. Combat?
5. Mane Public Radio?
6. CAP Transportation Agency’s?
7. Homeless Shelter?
8. Salvation Army?
9. Head Start Programs?
10. Hospice Agency’s
11. Rape Crisis Center?
12. Cerebral Palsy?
13. Crisis & Counseling?
14. Food Pantry working out of Churches?

These are just a few, the reason I ask is that we as Elected Officials at the local and county levels are hit by these agency’s year after year to use your tax dollars to help there budgets.
I will post my own feelings shortly but before I do I would like to know yours. Please understand I think all of the above are wonderful agency's but should we be funding them with your Property Tax Dollars? :?: :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:[/quote]

Tough question for a conservative. Most serve real needs and are valuable programs. In addition, all produce better results for less money than their government equivalents.

Perhaps using tax dollars to support efficient and effective private programs is better than letting the inefficient and bloated government serve the same needs. If I had a choice of having my tax dollars go th the salvation Army or DHHS, those bell ringers win big time.

Dan Billings
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

The problem is that the vote at the local level is not if the non-profit is going to be funded as an alternative to a government program. The vote is whether the non-profit is to be funded in addition to the existing government programs.

Naran
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

True. Every year at town meeting, we discuss and vote on allocating monies to agencies and services that are already supported by our tax dollars on the state level, in addition to duplicate state programs and agencies.

Philip Roy
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Re: Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollar

[quote]"JIMV -If I had a choice of having my tax dollars go th the salvation Army or DHHS, those bell ringers win big time.[/quote]

The problem is you have no choice on DHHS so you pay twice? or do you not spend Propery Tax Dollars to redue what the state is not doing.

Better yet send people to Augusta that will make change instead of your friend :!:

JIMV
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

I understand that BUT, there is only one universe of need out there. For every person helped by the charity, the total need is reduced for the government. If we eliminated the funding, the private groups will have less to help with and the need for the town will rise as will taxes to meet the need as government programs are always vastly less efficient than private. As Mark said, (in part) private is accountable and government seldom is.

How else can one account for school employment and spending growing every year whil studetn numbers drop...

let me add to that...if there is a total possible budget for 'help' in a community of $1 million, and the issue is only who gets to spend it, then the private groups will produce more help for the buck than the government will. As that money cap exists in the real world, routing more of that moeny to private charities produces more good for the community than hiring more bureaucrats.

Dan Billings
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

[quote="JIMV"]I understand that BUT, there is only one universe of need out there. For every person helped by the charity, the total need is reduced for the government.[/quote]

Really? Is there any proof that those that get help from the Salvation Army do not also collect benefits from the State?

JIMV
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

My bigger problem with private charites is when they all turn out in support of the latest social program to raise our taxes and then whine about lower charitable collections when the folk pay those taxes.

Charities like government seem to believe there is always more money for the taking. Unlike government who just steal it, Charities just have to work harder for it.

JIMV
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

[quote="Dan Billings"][quote="JIMV"]I understand that BUT, there is only one universe of need out there. For every person helped by the charity, the total need is reduced for the government.[/quote]

Really? Is there any proof that those that get help from the Salvation Army do not also collect benefits from the State?[/quote]

It is a good question, but I believe they collect less and what is collected from the charity is for a real immediate need, not cable TV or beer.

Dan Billings
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

It should also be noted that most of the groups on Phil's list are not like the Salvation Army. Most are in bed with government and get big bucks from government.

bob emrich
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

It is healthy to have a discussion first, then reach a conclusion. I did not share (intentionally) any conclusion. I was only raising some points for discussion. I do not have any strong opinion one way or the other.
I don't think the government does a very good job of helping people who need help. I have seen many private organization do it better. But I realize that even if they are more efficient, it does not follow that government should contribute to them.

I don't even know how much money my county government gives to charities. I do know what we do through the town. Sometimes we have helped organizations that I would not contribute to on my own. But I always have the opportunity to express my concerns before it is voted on.

It is hard for me to get excited about it either way because it is usually such a small amount of money compared to the massive programs typical of government.

I suspect that many of them just send out letters to town & county governments because it is inexpensive and they don't mind risking a dollar to potentially get a couple hundred dollars in return.

Isn't one of the arguments in favor of county government that it is close to the people? Shouldn't be that hard to figure what people want you to do.

But after all of that, I wish I would have thought of Jim's "universe of need" reasoning. I like that.

Town Manager
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

My understanding is SOME agencies need to receive a local/county appropriation in order to receive their federal subsidy. I think the CAP agencies are under this mandate. It's a statewide issue since these entities provide service in every county from York to Aroostook. Phil, maybe something to bring up to the Maine County Commissioner's Assoc to have a statewide discussion on the issue.

TM

Philip Roy
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

:roll: :shock:

The Distributist
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

[quote="JIMV"]It is a good question, but I believe they collect less and what is collected from the charity is for a real immediate need, not cable TV or beer.[/quote]Driving by a subsidized housing complex in my neighboring town the other day, it struck me that [b]every single unit[/b] out pf perhaps 50 units had a satellite dish hanging out the window.

My passenger, a hard-working mother of four with two in college, an expensive rent bill, car payment, and no ability to afford health insurance and no desire to ask the government for it, remarked, - "Man, I wish I could afford cable, or satellite."

Wilson
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Funding Special Interest Groups with Property Tax Dollars?

[quote="Philip Roy"]...What should the Counties do? there is no town meeting process just a budget Committee and the County Commissioners have the last say on what is spent?[/quote]

As a person who prefers the highest possible level of accountability to the voters, I am curious, do any of the Counties pay dues for any lobbyists or lobbying organizations which advocate any kind of increase in the presence of County Government in the over-all mix of government activities? I would say that the power of the Counties should be directly proportional to their accountability to the voters.

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