In North Carolina, where I live, we have been confronted recently with several separate government propositions to regionalize critical functions of government. What does that mean? And who will pay? (Hint: Are you a citizen of America?)
Let's say you live in a city with particular taxpayer owned assets that facilitate infrastructure of that city. A water and sewer system would be one. An airport would be another. And let's say either of those assets functions so well that there are profits, or at least sufficient funds to well maintain those assets. That's a good thing. Right? These facilities are part of the duties of the locally elected officials to oversee. So far so good.
But what happens if the elected officials decide the monies derived from these assets gets thrown into a different pot of "general funds," and squandered on other non-essential functions? What happens when an expansion is needed or an upgrade is forced upon us by the EPA or other Federal agency? Then the elected officials go back to the tax payers and make the plea for raising the water/sewer rates or raising the tourism tax or some other tax hike to fatten up the coffers. The voters are taxed already to death, so the voters are saying, "No!" Ooh...those elected officials don't like that, now do they?
This type of tax juggling has been going on forever. I could give you the example of the Social Security funds that have been used for "other" things and not set aside just for Social Security. The Federal government has set the precedent in this country for revenue juggling for a long time. Well, if the Federal government can do it...all of the other lower echelons of government from the States on down to counties and cities can do it, too! Right? And they have. In spades.
So what's the elected official to do? The funds are squandered already and the voters refuse to cough up more money. "Hmmmm....I know!" "Let's get those pesky voters out of the way!" "Let's set up an appointed regional authority that no one can deny!"
And that IS what they are doing.
One of them is a State law that passed last week that sets up a system of "regional" water and sewer authorities.
Another one is the Charlotte Regional Airport Authority. It says:
SB 81 - Charlotte Regional Airport Authority – (similar to HB 104) establishes a thirteen-member regional authority, including representatives appointed by the City of Charlotte (2), six counties in the region, the Speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives, the President ProTempore of the N.C. Senate, the Governor of N.C., and two at-large members appointed by the other eleven members. It also requires that Charlotte transfer to the Authority all rights and title to Charlotte Douglas International Airport within 90 days after enactment of the act.
Get that? The taxpayers of Charlotte own an airport. The City of Charlotte is mishandling the airport monies, or diverting the monies to other "transportation" projects, so I've been told. Somebody at the State level decided to just jump in there and grab that asset, turn it over to a "region," and further, give the management over to appointed persons. Wow. Worse for my small city; we own our own airport and they are pulling us into this newly created airport "region." So we will lose control and ownership of our own taxpayer supported asset. The funny thing is, I don't hear anyone here screaming and hollering to stop this madness. The media is not pursuing the story. Our citizens are sitting here in the dark. All of this has taken place since the legislature of North Carolina gained a Republican majority. And the Democrats have a lock on Charlotte. Is this a Party power grab? Looks like it to me. But who loses? Voters. Citizens. That's who. The Constitution loses, too. We have legal jurisdictions in which we are guaranteed representation. That just went out the window...right? (Note: I'm a registered Republican and for the life of me, I cannot understand why any Republican is trashing the Constitution right along with the Democrats.)
Besides the regional water/sewer authorities and the airport authority, we also have the big dog slobbering all over us, the "regional" planning grab by HUD through the Centralina Councils of Governments called Connect Consortium that plans to control basically everything. Gee, I think it's a trend, don't you? So, we are losing control of our water infrastructure, our airport infrastructure, and through Centralina, everything else. Our local elected officials are free to go to ribbon cuttings and photo ops, but I wonder what else they have left to do? They are not complaining about these "regional" take-overs, so I guess this just lightens their load for more free time to do whatever. Do you think voters are inspired to go to the polls to vote for public relations' pin-ups?For your added pleasure today, here is a clown juggling balls...just like our politicians are juggling our tax money. Think about that while you watch this fellow juggle more and more balls and finally at the end, make them disappear! Just like the voters disappeared in the latest trend to destroy Constitutional rights. Abracadabra! Presto Changeo!