Friday, June 14, 2013

A Dangerous Precedent

The folks at the EAA can call their decision to pay the Federal Aviation Administration for air traffic control services at this year's Airventure a "one time thing" all they want--but they have to know that they have opened the door to making this a "permanent thing".  The PR people at EAA are spinning this as "paying a ransom"--however, the bean-counters in accounting are probably already creating a new line item in the annual budget for "ATC-Airventure".

There are few guarantees in government, but one of them is that if people are willing to pay for something on their own, politicians are more than happy to allow them to continue to pick up that cost.  (EXCEPTIONS: Anything that might get them a large amount of votes; i.e.--free healthcare, babysitting, food, private school tuition, etc).  Now that the EAA has shown a willingness to fork over 450-thousand dollars to pay for the Pink Shirts to come to town, what incentive is there for the FAA to find room in the budget for that service next year?

And let's give the bureaucrats at the FAA some dap for the way they are handling this situation.  It would have been very easy for them to just eliminate two or three Assistant Regional Vice Presidents to save this same $450K--which no one was would ever notice--but they chose the far more public and painful budget cut--just as was ordered by the Obama Administration.  And they shrewdly billed this out not as providing the actual controllers at Oshkosh during Airventure--but rather this money will be used to pay for the people REPLACING the people sent to Oshkosh.  That makes it seem like not paying the fee would endanger fliers at dozens of other airports around the country!  Well played, FAA!

EAA isn't the only local organization falling into this trap.  Recently, the Brown County Board approved paying for additional prosecutors in their District Attorney's office.  Assistant DA's salaries are covered by the state--but the Legislature wasn't adding more money for additional prosecutors anytime soon.  Of course, Brown County supervisors included language in their resolution that the county would pick up the cost of the prosecutors "until the state picks up the cost".  Well, you can bet your bottom property tax dollar that will never occur.

As for those attending Airventure in the future, I would advise you to budget for an "FAA Fee" or "Air Traffic Control Surcharge" that will be added on to their admission fees from now on.  The precedent has now been established.


  1. "Government" does actually turn back halt or lessen taxation - but only (that I have ever seen) in a partisan, ideological, very controversial "reforming" way, as we have seen with Kooyenga or other proponents of tax reform. If they stop taxing (to a degree), it doesn't seem to just be a simple retraction, it tends to be very complex and political, and there is never a community-wide sense of relief, or even deep understanding. So-called Tax Reform as actually practiced, damages rather than restores John and Jane Average's trust in government on both sides of the strategist-manufactured partisan divide.
    Based on my experience, what you say is true, new "temporary" taxes and fees become permanent, and many examples exist.
    In the '90s the Chippewa County Board became deathly ill, as officials often do, with We Need A New Building disease. Chippewa Co. is an chronically underemployed, low paid, young-people-leave kind of county. Certainly you personally would not enjoy the Huntin' Fashions preferred by all right up to and including weddings and funerals. Point being, pockets are NOT deep unless you are a Cray, a young Hunt, a Sykora, or a Dr's family like Kreibich's. And yet, The Courthouse People HAD to have gleaming marble floors on grand additions to their workspace. A "temporary" increase to sales tax to pay for said marble was added, I believe it was supposed to be for 5 years only. When the expiration date came up, of course the County Board (NOT Democrat dominated btw, and by then with some new members) voted to keep the tax in place.
    Inflation may have been a factor, the crashing economy, reduced state and federal support, declining property values, a new highway that skirts town no longer leading travelers down the main drag, etc etc. all would have played apart in that increased need for funds. Not to mention the Board's diddling around with employment services and having to pay a new county admin position a fabulously high wage and benefit package for that area(the kind they pay out in a huge lump sum when the guy leaves early and then they have to also pay a NEW guy etc), and all this so the sparklingly brilliant new admin could downsize life-long locals who were lower-level staff and "save money" hahahaaaa)
    That was back then, well before the Austerity mania. Austerity and Reforms are going to change the way people live their lives, it's time to face that and re-adjust. Less people will be able to attend if prices are raised.
    But no worries, because now we can donate even more money to the politicians who will surely lead the way to an harmonious, logical, fair-minded future society. The more cash you send, the better our tomorrows will be. True patriots will toss their kids to the curb, and sign their entire paychecks over to politicians. The Founding Daddies would have wanted it that way.

  2. Amongst my sarcasm, and since I am possibly perceived as a Tax And Spend Liberal, I want to make a note that I was DEEPLY deeply angry at the Board's vote to go back on their promise of a temporary tax, even though I expected it of those Co. Board bobbleheads, I hoped I was wrong, and just too to negative, but no.
    Expect lies, expect greed, expect chaos.
    The End.