Printed on: January 22, 2013

Creating the illusion of prosperity

Tim Urling
Guest columnist

Despite what the mayor says, the city of Idaho Falls has some fundamental issues that need to be addressed, writes Tim Urling.Mayor Jared Fuhriman's address to the city was very upbeat, but I wonder why the real and obvious issues were avoided. Yes, Idaho Falls is great, but not because of anything government has done, but because of what government is prevented from doing. Nearly everything associated with city politics is dirtied and tarnished with waste, corruption and overspending. The method city leaders are choosing to bring about prosperity and safety is destined to fail. Maybe the mayor and City Council will address some of the following problems this year and start undoing by shrinking government.

The city budget for 2012 was $178 million. In 2007 it was $144 million -- an increase of 25 percent in only five years. At the last budget meeting, city leaders attempted to raise taxes but the citizens had enough and insisted on cutting spending. How long can these budget increases last? No one knows for sure, but one can only argue with economic law for so long until it bites back with a vengeance.

The largest budget expense is law enforcement as they occupy themselves with the bogus war on drugs. The government has no business telling us what comes out of our mouths, why should they tell us what we may put into our mouths? Read the crime log. Most all of it has to do with victimless crimes and nonviolent drug offenses. Imagine if we threw alcoholics in jail. Get caught smoking marijuana and you'll likely do more time than a child molester.

The city continues to funnel huge amounts of money into public transportation TRPTA as their vehicles drive around town nearly empty. TRPTA recently spent $140,000 for two new vans and the operating cost per ride is $23, but the rider only pays $1.50. You and I pay the rest. Ouch.

About $1.5 million was spent on the city library renovation while fewer and fewer people frequent the library and the Internet allows vast more resources and convenience. Estimates indicate by 2021, 90 percent of books will be read on an e-reader. If this is accurate, the demise of the library as we know it is imminent.

The average city department head earns more than $100,000 before benefits while the average private sector business manager earns $64,000. In 2012, $850,000 was spent on a private fueling depot for the city's brand new vehicles and equipment. How much fuel is really used for city purposes?

I hope the political planners know that spending can only create an illusion of prosperity and nearly every government program is inferior to the free market. Our government is nothing less than a parasite that will finally destroy its host by eliminating the source of his own supply and erasing the taxpayer's desire to produce.

Urling is an insurance salesman from Idaho Falls. You can write to him at turling@ cableone.net