Saturday, February 5, 2011
COLUMN NOTES: Boy, several people kicked my butt in the comments on the newspaper's website on this one. I used to respond to comments, but then I realized that if anyone really cared to discuss one of my columns, they'd send me an email.
HARBESON: I call illegal procedure on legislators’ moves
> SOUTHERN INDIANA — This year, I’m much more prepared to watch the Super Bowl and I owe it all to state legislators Ron Grooms and Ed Clere. Thanks to these guys, I now understand what it means to do an “end run.”
In football, an “end run” means the offense attempts to go around, rather than through, the defensive line. If the team can’t use their running game to gain yardage up the middle, they will often try an end run.
Similarly, Grooms and Clere have been running plays for special interest groups who have been unable to break through local government to get what they want. Both men are using their state positions to introduce legislation which will create new local government entities with taxing authority. These politicians are doing end runs around the communities they represent.
Grooms’ end run involves the creation of a regional airport taxing authority. As Grooms runs with this ball, he repeatedly spits out the phrase economic development, as if it’s something new and wonderful.
In reality, it’s merely a modern-day euphemism for the common good, a phrase that sounds much too socialist to the various business interests he is speaking for, including One Southern Indiana, a specific special interest group that endorsed him.
Not only is Grooms doing an end run around Clark County residents, he also wants to force other counties into his game. This is of course under the pretense that they will benefit.
I’m sure all the residents of these other counties feel the love as Grooms grabs their facemasks, acting as if he knows what is best for them and how his law will make their lives better.
Grooms even has the nerve to use the word “partners” when talking about this plan and how other people should pay for it. As if the idea of voluntary cooperation has anything to do with creating new laws and imposing new taxing authorities on individuals.
Grooms wants us to think his law is different. His law will be good for everyone. This cannot be true because it is impossible. A government action is never good for everyone. Never. Someone always loses the game.
Next, we have Ed Clere and his special interest group who have decided that individuals in Floyd County are failing to prioritize parks properly, so Clere wants to do an end run around them. He wants to create a new government entity with special taxing authority, this one specifically for parks in Floyd County.
However, it’s not just Floyd County residents who should be concerned about this end run. If you live in Clark County, or elsewhere in Indiana, be aware that Clere’s law would create the first park taxing district in the state. How long do you think it will take for “those who know best” to use this end run to increase government in your area?
To politicians like Ed and Ron, though, these increases in government are all good because these actions are perfect for their playbook. Ed and Ron are willing to do an end run around you because they think it’s legitimate to use government force to centrally plan your life and set your priorities.
Observing the behavior of these two legislators adds to the evidence that governments will always tend to grow, no matter which party happens to be in possession of the ball.
We can now see that when those who benefit from government can’t force their ideas of how you should prioritize and spend your money in the local community, they will go to the state-level politicians who are more than willing to try an end run.
Don’t let them fake you out. Keep your eye on the ball.
— Sellersburg resident Debbie Harbeson always keeps her eye on the ball, which has gotten her into trouble a time or two.