Thursday, August 16, 2007

If Local Gov't Can Give Tax Breaks to Developers, Why Not Vets on Fixed Incomes?

Northampton County Council is considering sister ordinances that honor veterans of both Iraq and WWII by granting county tax rebates this and next year. In fact, they're considering the idea of honoring all veterans on fixed incomes, in phases, over the next several years.

Leonard Zito, county council's very capable solicitor, questions the legality of this proposed grant. If his concerns can be overcome, why not try to help our soldiers with a little more than a thank you? The Morning Call says no, and asks this question: "Why is providing a benefit to troops, called to service by the commander in chief of the United States, a responsibility of Northampton County's taxpayers?"

Here's my question. If that's not a local government responsibility, then why not just close up shop and let the state and feds run the whole show?

Local governments regularly provide tax breaks and outright grants to big businesses and developers, who blow sweet kisses about high paying jobs that never seem to appear. And local governments take the bait, tripping over each other to provide tax concessions.

And let's be honest. Most of these local officials have been bribed, albeit legally, in the form of campaign contributions.

Want an example? A few years ago, Northampton County gave Abe Atieyeh a KOZ classification for the Cinema Paridiso. That exempted him from nearly all taxes. His matter was not even on council's agenda, but that didn't matter because he paved his way with campaign bucks to different pols. He promised to produce all kinds of office jobs from businesses in Jersey.

Guess what? After getting his break, he sold it to a business that decided to show movies. And that outfit, despite all those tax breaks, still went belly up.

So why not provide for a few folks that could really use the help? Senior vets on fixed incomes should not be forced to absorb the spiralling cost of local government, especially when there are plenty of yuppies who use most of the local government services. Should local government shrug its shoulders and ignore them simply because the state government has done nothing about property tax reform? Can local government sit idly while the federal government flings soldiers into combat zones with inadequate training, never-ending deployments and disintegrating equipment?

Just yesterday, LVDem reminded us of Hubert Humphrey's famous words: "The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped." Many of our Iraqi vets are in the shadows of life, while old soldiers on fixed incomes are in their twilight.

Thumbing our noses at aging vets, while rewarding developers who make campaign contributions, is a sign of government completely out of touch with reality. Nero and Caligula would be proud.


LVDem said...

I gotta say, that the MCall's position is surprising. It's not the responsibility of local gov't is how I read it. But as I read the editorial, I was under the impression that they were just out to discredit a good idea proposed by two people that the MCall doesn't like: Angle and Dertinger.

That was the impression I got. The two "politicians" were pandering. I'll stick up for Ron and Charles on this one: I think their hearts are in the right place.

Anonymous said...

The way the government treats vets is absolutely insane. No disrespect to the Easton Popo, but after an officer is accidentally shot by a fellow officer, the city bends over backwards to help the widow who then sues the city for millions...on the other hand, a young soldier in Iraq may come home with a head wound and brain damage but yet get next to no health care and little to no money to support themselves. I'll guarantee a vet would never be able to sue the federal government for an accident in Iraq...believe me, if they could, Karoly would have a of new clients. The government treats military vets like second class citizens.

Chris Casey said...

My personal experience with Military healthcare was this: The doctor wants you well, the bureaucrat officer looks at you as "vehicle" that can be repaired or sent to the junk yard. Under Bush, A lot of good soldiers who have been damaged have been sent to the scrap heap. We don't spend money to repair totaled vehicles, why care for "Totaled" soldiers?
If local government can do anything to help a vet, I think it should try.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem sticking up for Angle?? Now I've seen it all.

A.J. Cordi said...


Who wrote that column? Was that an opinionated statement from MC, or a reader opinion that was published?

It doesn't seem ethical that a newspaper would choose sides...

Bernie O'Hare said...

AJ, It was an editorial, and I link to it on my post.

LVDem said...

shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... this is never to be repeated.