As you know, Missoula’s Ward 4 has four candidates.
Just three of them showed up to talk today – Ramos, Wilkins, and myself.
I don’t know why Chris Badgley didn’t show up. Maybe he had to work, or maybe he follows a long-standing Democratic habit of not appearing on KGVO.
The station is a bit right-leaning, and Badgley did get the Missoula Democratic Party’s endorsement.
Alas, Badgley still doesn’t have a single yard sign up…though I think he had the design sent to the printers on September 6, and they should be done 2 weeks from that date.
So we’ll see them soon.
You’ll be seeing a few more of my signs, too. Just yesterday I had someone contact me because of my website, and today they helped me put up 4 more yard signs.
Now I have 6 of my 10 put up. I’ll buy some more metal stakes for the rest, and if I need to, I’ll get more printed up.
I really need to get back on the doors, and tonight might be a good one for it…if it’s not raining.
If I find 5 to 10 more homes that want signs, I’ll inject more of my own money into my campaign to get that done.
At this point I only really need about $70 to do that, so it’s not too bad. Remember, I don’t raise a lot of money when I run for office. I don’t know that many people so it’s hard to do. I don’t send out a lot of letters or emails to people asking for money, either.
So I have to work with what I have.
And that’s my big message to government – work with what you have!
It’s frustrating at both the local and the state level right now.
- At the local level, the city keeps raising taxes so it can maintain the same (or greater) level of spending that it’s grown accustomed to.
- At the local level, the state doesn’t have money because firefighting costs spiraled out of control, and now they have to cut essential services and the number of state employees.
We’re continually told not to compare government spending with household spending.
We must end this terrible line of thinking.
In my household, if I don’t have enough money I can do one of two things:
- Raise my income by getting another source of revenue, typically another job;
- Or…cut my household spending.
Those cuts aren’t easy, and many will come from essential things my family needs. Still, I can usually live with 75% of something essential.
It’s called cutting back.
So this week I buy 75% of the groceries I bought last week. Yes, eating is essential…but it is an area I can cut back on and still survive.
- I can also lower the thermostat. If I get cold, I can put on more sweaters.
- I can drive less when I’m not working, thus saving on gas and its costs.
- I can eat out less (something we rarely do in my household) and I can go to the movies less, shop less, buy fewer clothes, drink less, smoke less…you name it.
If you have a household budget, these areas are easy to pinpoint and shave.
It’s called doing an audit. Our governments desperately need to do them more.
Back in Missoula, last night the city approved $1.6 million in new spending.
That comes to $1.3 million in accounts payable, $285,000 for a wastewater facility plan, and $33,000 for a community bike park design.
Maybe some of those things are essential…but all of them?
When people on fixed incomes keep seeing tax increases, and when people working hard at one or more jobs can’t afford their mortgage and the taxes on their home…then what are we going to do?
The city’s answer is to increase their taxes more.
My answer is to dig into the budget, find out what those $37 million worth of miscellaneous expenses are exactly, and begin cutting.
We can get next year’s tax increase from 4% to 1% and hopefully the year after that there’s a 0% increase or even a 1% decrease.
I feel this can be done even with the monumental water company purchase…if we just count our pennies.
Households do it all the time. It’s time for city government to do so also.
Remember, the net position of total primary government finances in 2007 was $11.9 million but in 2016 it was negative $2.7 million.
- In 2007 our expenses were $47 million a year but last year they were $78 million.
- In 2007 the cost of general government was $5.7 million, last year it was $10.8 million.
- In 2007 the discrepancy between the city’s income and expenses was $21 million, in 2016 it was $78 million.
- In 2007 the assessed value of all Missoula’s properties was $2.9 billion, and last year it was $7.3 billion.
If your property has more value, you get taxed more.
I think it’s clear we’re moving in the wrong direction, and at an alarming pace. In some instances, our costs have doubled.
- What do we have to show for that?
- Is your life better as a result, or are you struggling more now than ever?
Maybe you're not struggling. Maybe it’s that each year your tax bills go up, but your income doesn’t match it.
Really hits the savings, doesn’t it?
Makes it harder to take that vacation.
Even spending more in the local economy can become burdensome.
The city’s answer?
Raise your taxes more.
I think people are sick of it, and this might be the year for change. It will be if you vote. Please vote for Lisa Triepke for mayor. Please vote for Greg Strandberg for Ward 4.
Please do so in our mail-in-only election, which starts in about 3 weeks.
Thanks for your support!