The Beaufort County budget—An exercise in lazy | Beaufort County Now | Hood blows the whistle on a corrupt budget process

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

By:  Hood Richardson

I would like to report to you the Beaufort County Commissioners completed the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget in a heroic fashion, performing incredible acts of financial management.  They examined and demanded justification for every penny of County spending in the new budget.  They introduced and forced new levels of cost controls on all spending.  They validated that every penny would be used in conservative ways to serve every citizen of the county.  They cut spending to the bone.  There will be a significant tax reduction.  But, I would be lying.  Take all of the above statements, reverse them and you will be closer to the truth.

Tax payers are not well served by “continuation budgeting.”  That’s when they take last year’s budget and only address additions to spending.  This system guarantees that inefficient operations continue and does not provide justification for continuing present practices whether good or bad. 

Taxpayers are only being fooled with the one cent reduction in the tax rate.  Actually, we had an increase in revenues of about two million dollars.  We are spending all of that and dipping into the savings. When we do this we are increasing spending without the tax payers knowing about it.  The increased spending does not show up on your tax bill as a tax increase.  These increased moneys come from increased sales taxes and taxes on new construction and underestimating revenues in general.  These boys really make themselves look good when revenues are underestimated. Taking money out of savings also does not show up as increased taxes.  My estimate is we increased spending about 3 million dollars, and we rolled 600,000 dollars back to you, the taxpayer.  Sounds fair to the Democrats, they increase spending five dollars and give one back to you trying to make you believe we are spending less.  Government accounting and bookkeeping does not follow the same rules you and I and our businesses have to follow.  It’s a shell game and it works every time if the people don’t pay close attention to what is being done to them.

Several motions were made by Stan Deatherage to reduce taxes up to four cents.  All were supported by Randy Walker and me.  However,   the four Democrats, Langley, Booth, Rebholz and Waters voted down your tax reduction every time.  The one penny motion was made by Rebholz.  It passed unanimously.   The four Democrats reduced taxes only so they could pretend they reduced spending.  They are still the Big Spenders.  I call Rebholz and Waters Democrats because, they, along with Langley and Booth actually railroaded this budget through.  If you vote with Democrats, like Democrats’ voting, then you must be a Democrat regardless of what kind of stripes you have painted on yourself.  You heard the ole saying:  “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.”

There is a strong justification for reducing property taxes.  We have a surplus of 14 million dollars above what we may need to fund the County thru to December.  That is when people start paying their taxes and we accumulate another 25 million dollars.  If we have savings that we will never use we should give it back to tax payers.  The Democrats argue that if we give it back we may have to raise taxes next year.  So what.  You have your money. It is not sitting in a Beaufort County bank account drawing less than ¼ of one percent interest.

But the good news is that there is an election coming soon.  This budget passed 4-3.  If the voters select one more conservative at the next election the next budget could be a four or five cent reduction in your taxes.  It’s just that simple.  It is true, we get the kind of government we deserve.

Consider the motives of pious politicians who fraudulently keep our money.  Why do they want to keep what is not theirs? They may have big spending plans themselves.  It is the height of arrogance for any politician to tell anyone  their money is better off in his pocket than it is in theirs.

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