Those writing checks to the Beaufort County Government got the same disrespectful handling this year we got last year. That is, taxes and trash fees went up again. Those writing tax checks will write checks for two percent more than they wrote last year. Doesn't sound like much does it. Trash fees went of ten dollars.
Consider that since 2013 taxes have gone from 52 million to 59.5 million dollars. That is a 14.40 percent increase. I picked the year 2013 because this is about when the Progressive Republicans took over. Progressive Republican are much like Progressive Democrats. They believe government spending is what makes economic progress. They are somewhat correct. That is borrowed money can juice the economy. But sooner or later the piper has to be paid. That is what happened during the great depression. Everybody was living on borrowed money. The same thing is going to happen again.
Increasing spending this year was not necessary. We did another lazy continuation budget. The only reduction in last years spending was to settle two personal scores that the majority of four had. One of those is to reduce the information available to the public about county government. Reducing information to the public makes those back room deals go smoother. That reduced spending totaled 66 thousand dollars and resulted in the firing of Randy Walker and the county lobbyist.
The net increase in spending comes to $1,215,950. That is a two cent increase in taxes. This still does not sound like much until we realize all of those "small' increases since 2013 now total 7.5 million dollars or 14.4 percent more taxes than you were paying before the progressive Republicans took control of the Board of County Commissioners. Do you see a 14.4 percent increase in services?
The big items of increased spending were $363,000 for increased wages for County employees. Capital spending was increased $246,000 and we gave the school system another $375,000. Contingency was increased $190,000. None of these increased costs are justified. Take a look at the wages we pay county employees, they are certainly competitive. We increased capital spending, we have poured money into new buildings and parking lots for the past four years. Nobody knows where contingency will go. This is a fat budget and we rarely need to use contingency. Not using contingency is one of the tests for a fat budget,. The school system has had a declining population of about 125 students per year. That is about $300,000 that we never cut from their budget.
The money pumped into education is a serious issue. It is about one third of all property taxes. For one thing, not a single Commissioner can tell you where it goes. We exercise none of our authority to know how the money is spent. The school system admits they are using a lot of money to guarantee jobs that are cut by the state because of declining enrollment. We do not appropriate money by purpose and function. I know we will appropriate much less money that way. But the in the majority refuse to do anything that leads to cost savings.
This board, this year, never tried to reduce costs by looking at over staffing or capital items that would last several years and should be removed from the budget. That is why continuation budgets are lazy; they just add to last year's budget and go back to sleep. Lazy commissioners.
How could our taxes be going up this rapidly in a county with a declining population and five out of the seven commissioners being Republicans? The vote since the Progressive Republican got in charge in 2018 has ranged from 6 to 1, to 5 to 2 and this year 4 to three. The six to one votes came before Stan Deatherage was re-elected to the board. The 5 to 2 votes came after Stan was re-elected. The 4 to 3 vote came this year because Gary Brinn is running in 2020 and he has make his voters believe that he is a conservative Republican.
The Republican platform calls for lower taxes, smaller government and more personal freedom. Nome of this has happened since 2013. The simple answer to why we do not have Republican government is there are only two real Republicans on the Board . The budget was passed this year by the two Democrats, Langley and Booth, and two Progressive Republicans, Frankie Waters and Jerry Evans. Voting against the tax increase was Stan Deatherage and Hood Richardson
. Brinn is a special case because he is running in 2020. As soon as he is elected he will go back to his old ways. Another name for Progressive Republican is RINO (Republican In Name Only).
Because of the early presidential primary commissioners will be registering to run during early December of 2019. That is only five month away. We need conservative Republican candidates. Now is the time to make this decision, not during November or early December. We need a total of six candidates in the Republican primary election.