Saturday, December 24, 2005

Why Libertarian?

Because Libertarians believe that the ability to raise and spend public money does not make doing so a necessity. Because we believe that spending public money should cause an obvious and significant public gain.

What would you say about roadway projects that took an existing two-lane highway, widened the public right-of-way to accommodate a green strip in the center of the old roadway, and left a new two-lane divided highway? Would that be a worthwhile investment of thousands of dollars?
How about millions?

The City of Carmel, under the leadership of a Republican mayor and an all-Republican city council, have authorized several such projects. Go to Springmill Road, Ditch Road, Oak Ridge Road, and a host of others, and you will find scenarios that match what I described above, and what is shown in my pictures.

Springmill Rd, on a section of original two-lane highway.

Springmill Rd, on a section of improved two-lane highway. Millions of dollars. Poof!

These projects cost millions of dollars. The resulting roadways yield no additional vehicular capacity.

The drainage was re-worked, which generally means that expensive new storm sewers were installed. Expensive right-of-way was often acquired from private property owners. Utilities had to move over to accomodate, without compensation... except that the buck is passed to the customers. And yet, the best thing that can be said about the results is that the new roads look nice.

If a Libertarian were mayor, or dominating the Carmel City Council, the first order of business for roadways would be function. Crumbling roadways would be replaced, to be sure. Perfectly functional roadways would not be replaced merely for the sake of asthetics, as has happened here.

Carmel is clever, though. Raise a fuss about these projects, and you can expect the mayor and council to remind you that Carmel has the lowest tax rate of any city. That is true- today.

These projects were financed with municipal bonds, and will be repaid over a span of 30 years. These projects started popping up not long after Carmel began aggressively annexing existing communities into the corporate limits. As the annexations increased, the City's tax base- and bonding capacity- grew exponentially. The ability to spend gobs of money appeared, and the City took quick advantage of the opportunity.

Carmel has nearly completed the annexations it could hope to. Southwest Clay is the last great bonanza, as it is the wealthiest address in the state. After that, the City's ability to effortlessly pad its' population numbers, tax base, and bonding capacity through annexation will decline significantly. In a few years, the piper will have to be paid.

It looks great today, but its a mortgage on the future. Carmel has based its financing on a Ponzi Scheme. Soon enough, the population growth will fail to provide economic cover for the spending, and taxes will have to go up.

We'll see how keen today's Carmelites will be on paying tomorrow's tax bill. I predict a flight from Carmel in 20-25 years, as the tax rate hikes upward. In the meantime, the mayor and councilors will likely have moved on to other political pastures- having campaigned on the premise that they created the shining city on the hill.

This is what looms for Fishers, with its first attemp to forcibly annex the Geist neighborhoods. This is why the annexations should not merely be fought by the people of Geist, but by the people of Fishers. I want to live in Fishers for many, many years to come. My thinking is long term.

This short term grabbing is the hallmark of Hamilton County Republicans. If your thinking is long term, if you want your property to hold its' value, you need to vote Libertarian. Hamilton County is a magnet today, but on course to be the slum of tomorrow.


Kenn Gividen said...

Mike, You are right!!!

While there's nothing wrong with communities enhancing their appearance, it is patently immoral to do so with tax dollars, aka, "public funding."

Republicans justify aesthetic public works projects as being beneficial to the economic development of their communities. But I am unaware of any before-and-after studies that justify that claim.

One of the most obscene examples of government waste for aesthetics is the $10 million spent on one component of Columbus' front door project. The project was funded, in part, by the federal funds.

See photo here:

At the link below, you will note the project description: "This innovative twin ribbed steel, cable-stayed arch bridge meets the design requirements for a clear span over the single point interchange."

The bridge was a part of a much larger project. A second bridge with wasteful aesthetics can be viewed here:

Robert Enders said...

It stinks that you can issue a bond, take credit for what the bond funds, take credit for a temporary upswing in the economy, then when someone from a different party gets elected, he gets blamed when the economy tanks under his administration.