Our entire society is run on the stuff. You may grow weary of the pressure of making more of it by fleeing into government or being part of a non-profit – but you can’t escape it. The problem is we get confused between assets and profit. We may look at a billionaire and say he’s not being taxed enough! Hah, who cares about his assets that make him look wealthy. Is this man or woman producing is the question we should be asking? That is what is taxed.
The government is setup to live off the earning power of the citizens. If they can’t earn enough to better themselves, then the government becomes like a sled stuck in the ground. And then we have special interests who suck on the tits of power who manage to exempt themselves from taxation putting more pressure on the upper-middle class to the wealthy.
You may despair and say, “I’ll run to the world of non-profits”. These organizations also can’t survive if they don’t make money as we have seen lately with the Harbor Schools. In fact, we came close to losing our beloved Custom House and even the Lowell Boat Shop because of lack of money.
Now leaving the economics lesson behind, let’s look at the political situation in City Hall.
The fact is that the sources of revenue stream become sources of political power.
Since homeowners are a major source of taxation, this makes their opinions of extreme value. Since the business park is another source this makes them influential. And when the businesses of our downtown are heard, City Hall stands up and takes notice.
And then there is the wild card factor – the city gets over the top budget money (Let’s call it ‘profit’ for that is what it is really) when developers and homeowners do a major project or when maintenance and repairs are done to buildings and homes. It is this financial situation that makes politicians and city officials stand up and pay attention even if it’s just a scrappy, hard-working carpenter walking through the door.
These tradesmen become extra valuable as the Governor and the State House like to dangle Newburyport over the cliff’s edge when it comes to state funding – if the money doesn’t come in, that extra ‘profit’ could spell the difference between a city in the red and a city in the black. I still don’t understand why people want to pursue being mayor or be a city councilor other than they like ulcers! (Fortunately, no sign of them in our present corner-office resident but overwork can make a person wear thin!) It also explains why the Bible devotes much to encouraging prayer for our leaders. Imagine the Stress!
The fact is that money is every present in the minds of politicians and City Hall officials. Thus, as much as I as an open space advocate and an historic preservationist want to pursue my agenda; it is the financial benefits to the city from these two causes that will be the most powerful argument.
Then there is the average citizen who wants to protect our high quality of life – even they, if they want to be effective must show the cost value of keeping our great little community in its present state.
We must use case studies, documentation and facts and then to present them effectively against alternative, and I may say ineffective, methods of revenue stream.
This may sound like accountant talk but it is infused with passion – we’re talking about keeping our entire community in a healthy state.
PS. In Part II, I’ll talk about the dangers if the wrong sources of revenue stream are listened to and gain political influence!