Image: Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1917.
Conroe, August 12 – As we approach the one-hundredth anniversary of the horrific “October Revolution” which imprisoned Russia for three quarters of a century, we hear more and more from Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador that the purpose of the County government is to lead economic development. That’s how they justify spending millions of dollars on a County Airport that loses money and has failed to spur any economic development other than a few lonely convenience stores and gasoline stations, on a $73 million tollroad that goes to nowhere on the far southwest edge of Montgomery County, and on overpaid and fattened engineers who charge the County government three to four times reasonable fees for their road engineering services.
Doyal, Riley, and Meador follow the precept of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin who in 1913 said, “Political institutions are a superstructure on the economic foundation.”
For example, on July 3, 2017, Doyal followed the tradition of Lenin and issued the following statement: “The 249 extension will ease traffic congestion in southwest Montgomery County, and by opening up access, will generate high-value commercial development that will expand our tax base and help provide relief to residential property taxpayers,” he said. In other words, by increasing congestion and commercial development, Doyal’s judge of the worth of a government project is whether it will expand his tax base!
Hopefully, instead, the rest of us should remember Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and William F. Buckley who provided a different philosophical argument that, when government increases its financial size (spending) and supports that size through taxation, individual citizens lose freedom. Government largesse removes our freedoms not only through regulation. The act of taxation is a loss of freedom.
With taxation – federal, state, and local – costing Texans approximately 56% of disposable income, we work through July 23 of each year to pay taxes so that we may spend that last 161 days to pay our own bills. With that massive investment of our time, energy, and money into government already, our “public servants” who lead those governmental entities are making clear that they don’t have enough of our resources to spend yet.
At the end of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court’s “budget workshop” on Friday, July 28, 2017, there was a clear message we heard from all five of the Court members, Doyal, Meador, Riley, Commissioner James Noack, and Commissioner Jim Clark: watch out for increased spending perils ahead!
Meador wanted to give raises to every County employee. Then he backed down and asked for a raise for all County employees who earned less than $60,000 per year. Other members of the Commissioners Court threatened that elected official raises are coming soon in the future, despite the completely out-of-whack height of those salaries in the taxing stratosphere.
Doyal covets spending other people’s money. He’s hard-wired as a democrat who spends tax dollars to solve problems. He genuinely believes that government, not private free markets, should lead economic development. He’s bought into the centralized planning form of economic development that Lenin and Trotsky urged exactly 100 years ago during the Russian Revolution. Riley and Meador are there with Doyal philosophically. Noack and Clark have shown a moderate amount of discomfort with those tax-and-spending ideas.
Citizens attempted to have a major impact in the County’s budget. There was one major impact that emanated from citizens: the 20% homestead exemption. The idea came originally from the research and minds of Kelli Cook and Adrian Heath (yes, the same gentleman who spent half of this year in state prison as a political prisoner). Noack and Clark pushed the proposal on the Commissioners Court. Doyal, Riley, and Meador voted against it, but one month later Riley changed his mind so it passed.
Citizens offered substantial inputs into how the County so miserably manages our tax dollars. Those ideas rapidly became the favorites which Doyal, his “chief of staff” jim fredricks, Riley, and Meador worked quite hard to ignore. Those citizen inputs came from citizen comments during Commissioners Court, letters to editor, the Citizens Budget Committee, and quiet lobbying of individual Court members.
There’s something else that’s going to happen between now and the next budget discussion period, which will occur during the summer of 2017. It’s called the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election. That’s a process by which citizens should have significant inputs during the festivities. It’s not merely voting. As citizens, you should actively participate in candidate forums, candidate question-and-answer sessions, letters to editor, campaigning, and lobbying the candidates as they develop their ideas of how they intend to serve in office.
As citizens we must become far more active. That the Commissioners Court so vehemently ignored citizen input both before and during the budget process reveals to all of us how important it will be for citizens to step up our activism during the next 12 months.
The Commissioners Court so far has rarely listened other than to the ideology of Lenin that government exists to control the citizens’ economic future and their freedom.
It’s the citizens’ job to make them change their behavior. It’s our job to bring the message to our neighbors that the ideology of Lenin didn’t work out so well for Russia even though Doyal, Riley, and Meador seemed to miss that history lesson.