Community Bake Sale

In a recent post touting the benefits of some \"earmarks\", Locke asked :

That said, why should federal taxpayers have paid for this? If it was important enough for Ashland County, why the hell couldn’t county taxpayers come up with the $80K to buy it? Other municipalities buy their own. Heck, the town I used to live in had fundraisers to raise money to buy new fire & rescue equipment.

I live in a community(and you probably do also) where we have many fundraisers not just for fire, but numerous others for the schools, etc… The question I have is why should we have fundraisers for things/services which everyone benefits from?

For an example lets say we need an $80,000 piece of equipment for the fire department that will save lives. ” The commons” will benefit from it and we could raise taxes a minimal amount to buy this piece of equipment.

On the other hand, we refuse to raise taxes to buy it and instead hold fundraisers. In (I will venture out here using my own experience) local fundraisers they tend to be attended by the same group of people all the time. So it ends up taking longer and a few fundraisers, before all of the needed funds are raised. In the meantime(as someone who attends many local fundraisers), it has taken a select group of community members lots of time and much money to fund raise the $80,000 to buy this piece of equipment that “the common” benefits from. Instead of raising everyone’s taxes a minimal amount, I(or those that attend the fundraisers) end up paying many hundreds of dollars to make this happen.

That is why I am against community “fundraisers” for needed services/equipment. thoughts?


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16 thoughts on “Community Bake Sale

  1. Well of course you’re against it. It makes sense.

    Seriously – you’re in favor using the power of law to forcefully require everyone to sacrifice their hard-earned money for something rather than funding them voluntarily by people who have the means to help.

    Not to mention – such fundraisers skew very heavily towards the more well off. I’m sure you’d be in favor of it it it were a required tax on just the rich, but when they give of their own volition, that’s a bad thing?

    Guess I can see why your post is categorized “Humor, Hypocricy, and Idiocy.” πŸ™‚

  2. Yes I am in favor of “using the power of the law” although dont really know what that means to force everyone to sacrifice for something that benefits everyone.

    If you want to put up a statue of Reagan then fundraise and make the money if you need a new fire truck, then everyone pays. If we did it fairly, then the more well off would pay more Via more taxes. Its really that simple.

    1. Don’t know why I bother…maybe I didn’t take enough time off.

      It’s disingenuous to imply that this is frequently how necessary capital expenditures are financed. It happens from time to time, at least in my experience for specialty type items that go above & beyond normal, everyday usage.

      Something like a ice rescue airboat doesn’t benefit everyone. It’s going to benefit a tiny, tiny fraction of the public. Generally those who are foolish enough to avoid warnings and lack common sense and venture out onto obviously dangerous places. Not that that should really matter in making such decisions, just figured I’d point out that you’re wrong.

      Again – why is it better to force people to pay for something when it can be done voluntarily?

    1. As always steve, your intellectual contribution to the discussion in remarkable.

  3. What about a contribution I make to a charity like a food bank or some other worthy cause that benefits the entire community — how is that any different?

  4. Locke,

    I never implied that it happens all of the time, i said that it should never happen. In the example of the air boat, in certain municipalities it might be above and beyond. In cities like Ashland, one where water plays such a vital part of their community, it appears that it is necessary. I would also argue that in small communities like Ashland, if those two people had died, it would have had an effect on a very large part of the community.

    My point is why should I pay hundreds of dollars and you pay none, and yet we both get the same benefit from it. This is not necessarily a republican/democrat issue either. Its not like the only people at these fundraisers are democrats, this is bipartisan on both sides.

    Forgot, in answer to your question, i think that all communities should have a “community funded” place to help the homeless and hungry yes.

    Squid that article is outdated and too general and does not really address what I am getting at here. That is more macro where I am trying to make a micro point.

    I am not against giving to charity, I just think we need to redefine what charity is. Necessary equipment for the police/fire/schools etc… is not charity.

    1. In cities like Ashland, one where water plays such a vital part of their community, it appears that it is necessary.

      If it was an absolutely critical piece of equipment, then the County leaders should be thrown in jail for incompetence – if not involuntary manslaughter or depraved in difference if it’s absence cost any lives prior to the feds buying it for them.

      My point is why should I pay hundreds of dollars and you pay none, and yet we both get the same benefit from it.

      We do both get the same benefit – none. Zero. Nada. Though again, that’s not exactly a good bar to measure up whether government should do something. 99.9% of the citizens of Ashland County will never benefit from that. Probably over 95% of the citizens of any municipality will never benefit from it’s fire trucks.

      You still haven’t answered my question:

      Again – why is it better to force people to pay for something when it can be done voluntarily?

  5. I did answer that because if everyone benefits then everyone should pay. Why should only a few pay when everyone benefits? Why should some people be able to opt out of paying for the commons?

    By the way there is a difference between absolutely vital and necessary.

    1. You’re just not grasping the concept…

      If something can be paid for voluntarily, why should it instead be forced from those who don’t want to and/or are less able to pay?

      Your answer is that everyone benefits. This is absolutely and provably not true. Not an opinion or philosophical – it’s just false. An extremely small percentage of people benefit. And I say again – whether an individual benefits directly from any government action, purchase or service is not a reasonable or rational basis for decision making.

      By the way there is a difference between absolutely vital and necessary.

      Cutting hairs. Replace “critical” with “necessary” if you’d like, doesn’t change the argument at all. If something was necessary to save lives, the administrators/board/elected officials are guilty of negligence by not purchasing it sooner. The federal funding didn’t have any impact on the necessity of the equipment. It was exactly as necessary 5 years ago as it is now.

    2. PP, you say “if everyone benefits then everyone should pay.” Do you also hold this philosophy when it comes to income taxes? Almost half the country pays no income taxes, yet they reap the benefits from the other half.

  6. There is a huge difference between those “who dont want to” and those who “are less able to pay”. Why am I forced to pay taxes? Maybe because that is the price we pay for a free society. In my instance, I give very generously for fundraisers to improve our schools and our “public” parks. Both cases benefit every single homeowner in my community, yet very few actually participate. Why should they not be forced to participate? why should I pay their share also? Especially if they are able to? WIthout sitting and doing the exact math, why should I pay $400 for something when raising taxes $10 for all would cover the costs? Is that not fiscally responsible?

    Yes elected officials being guilty of negligence is something that happens often(see Walker and the Milwaukee mental Health facilities), and the people suffer for their negligence. On the bright side at least now, with Tort reform< the people will have no recourse.

    1. voluntary – adjective
      1. done, made, brought about, undertaken, etc., of one’s own accord or by free choice: a voluntary contribution.
      2. of, pertaining to, or acting in accord with the will: voluntary cooperation.
      3. of, pertaining to, or depending on voluntary action: voluntary hospitals.

      Though not always feasible or practical, where possible, voluntary contribution is categorically superior to forced payment. Period.

    2. PP, no one is making you pay $400. Why do you want to force others into paying for something, just because you consider it a priority and have the means and desire to contribute? Also, did you stop and think that if it was something the entire community did put a priority on, then it would be included in the tax bill?

      I give money to all sorts of worthy charities and causes, because they are important enough to me that I am willing to use my limited funds to do so, but I would never force you into doing the same.

  7. FOrg: while many people do not pay “income taxes” per say – its because they do not have an income. Those people end up paying more of their actual income in taxes due to all of the other taxes they end up paying. So they do contribute.

    As for your other point, that is kind of the point I am making. They should be included in the tax bill. Many governments/school boards keep cutting to the bone and then we have to pay personal funds for necessary things. All so they can say they cut taxes.

    In the long run it ends up costing a few people much more so everyone can benefit. Not very fiscally responsible.

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