Saturday, January 3, 2009

Burning Leaves and Low Taxes

Just before the holidays I was looking out my window as the municipal leaf vacuum and some municipal workers stopped in front of my neighbors house for the last leaf pickup of the year.

t made me think about the halcyon days of my youth where rather then the sound of leaf blowers on a Autumn weekend there would be the pungent aroma of burning leaves wafting through the air. While this practice was banned for good reasons I do miss it.

Then I realized we used to take care of our leaves ourselves now we must depend on the municipal government to do it. How much of our taxes go towards the man hours and equipment needed to pick up leaves?

The worse part is we do not have to. We could do it ourselves. I shred my leaves and either compost them or use them as free mulch.
So you want to save tax dollars take care of your own leafs. Form a neighborhood cooperative and buy a shared leaf vacuum or have your lawn guy suck them up and shred them instead of blowing them around. It really would not take a longer and the resulting compost is free fertilizer.

Then start thinking. What else could I do for myself instead of relying on the government to do it for me. That is the first step to smaller government and smaller government means less taxes!

1 comment:

James Hogan said...

This is a great observation and something I've also thought/said before. For that matter, here are a few other "small" items to consider, of course they all have their "draw backs" depending on your point of view.

1) Most of us rely on municipal sanitation. I propose two possible alternatives:

a) the "city dump" - more like several "dumps" through a city where you haul your own trash to and the city will remove it. This method encourages people to create less waste so they make less trips to the dump. It also encourages recycling/reuse. The down side of course that these dump locations have to be somewhere and no one will want the dump near their property. You also have the elderly and/or disabled who simply can not haul their trash a few blocks to the nearest dump. Which leads to method;

b) Private sanitation. Again if you're paying for N number of pickups and/or L lbs of waste per year - you might consider producing less trash. all of course meaning less taxes/government care. 2) Most of us rely on city water/sewers. This allows water delivery to be made possible to most any location and it also allows waste to be removed from most any location. Eliminate city water and city sewers and require each home to have a well and a septic system and consider the amount of "open space" that is created. Septic systems require space - my parents have about 50 feet between their house and the side of their property line where the septic tank is. If each home had a septic tank, more space between homes and thus less home, less building, more "open space". Same for city water, require a well and suddenly you can't have houses with a 5ft on either side "zoning" regulation because the underground aquifers simply can't support it. Again, less home, more space, less taxes/government care.

2) Less police doing non-police work. I have said it before and I'll say it again, call me any time of day, any day of the week and challenge me to find AT LEAST 3 Eatontown police officers. I'll drive down a 2 mile stretch of 36 in front of the Monmouth Mall and find AT LEAST 3 police cars idling away gasoline with 3 well paid police officers inside each car. I understand the need for traffic safety enforcement - that should not be the role of the police department IMO. Every time I see police running radar, I consider where in town a real crime is happening - be it petty theft, prostitution, gang related activities, etc - somewhere, at any second, I'd wage a bet that a crime of some sort is being committed. Paying police to enforce DMV (which we also pay for) regulations so that we have our day in municipal court (which we also pay for) to then pay a traffic fine, seems like a real waste of tax money (police, dmv, judges, clerks, etc) to me. I don't know the solution to a "better" system - but I do believe that traffic enforcement is NOT police work. For that matter, I recently had to call the police because a tree branch fell on some power lines. NYC has "311" to handle that kind of call - I wish I knew/there was a non-police/lower paid/non-emergency service here. I didn't need *2* well paid LB police officers, a fire truck and 2 well paid firemen to come save me, I just needed GPU to come remove the branch. Perhaps my own fault for not just calling GPU directly. A neighbor also called the police on my other neighbor, Ruth the old lady, because Ruth was wondering the streets aimlessly - again, NOT police work - more work for social services or a helpful neighbor - ie, wish she'd of called me and I'd of walked Ruth home. Anyhow, again, great observation and how to make government smaller and convince people to be less reliant on the government, at the local, state and federal levels, is the bigger challenge. I wish I could offer complete, well thought-out and details strategies at this time, maybe another day with some more thinking. :-)