Tuesday, January 25, 2005

City Budget Poll

We'd like to make sure everyone who reads this fills out the Grand Rapids city budget poll online. The city leaders claim that they will not raise taxes (though they did several times in 2004) to fill the budget hole. Therefore, they are asking citizens to fill out a poll to tell them which city services are the most vital.

What the city commission doesn't seem to be doing a serious job of is asking themselves what a city government should be doing, versus what they are doing.

What are the basic responsibilities of a municipal government? In our opinion, the city should limit itself to these major things:

1) Police and Fire
2) Infrastructure (roads, water, sewer)

However, our city fathers have taken it upon themselves to be social engineers, attempting to centrally control growth, poverty, education, etc. These are things that are best left to the private sector. Continuing to spend money on these things (while increasing the city's tax burden) only drives out middle class and businesses. If they truly want to make this a business- and job- friendly city, they'll concentrate on doing a few things well rather than doing everything they can poorly.

It's time to take this budget problem and turn it into an opportunity to improve services, scale back bureaucracy and regulation, and improve city life for everyone by raising the water so all boats float higher.

Take the city's poll here.

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