Holifield takes issue with Friedman’s commentary on wheel tax

This letter to the taxpayers of LaPorte County as well as the City of LaPorte is in response to Mr. Friedman’s  recent letter concerning the proposed wheel tax for the taxpayers of the City of LaPorte. This proposed tax is for the repair and to maintain the city streets.  I am a resident of the county but do feel for all taxpayers.   

Mr. Friedman cites carefully chosen statistics and figures to convince us that we are being treated unfairly by the state. The state office of INDOT uses a formula to determine how road funding is disbursed to the local governments. Our own state representative and state senator have said on radio station WCOE’s local show called Sound-Off that LaPorte County is to be number nine for road funding in the next budget cycle. Ninth out of 92 sounds to me like we are in the top 10%. Now that seems pretty good to me.  

Mr. Friedman also speaks of new taxes on “already overburdened families here.” I will agree to the point that we are already taxed at a ridiculous level to fund our own local excuse for government. I am surprised his tongue didn’t fall out of his mouth and run across the table after that comment.

Maybe the local cities and county should use good old business sense and reduce the size of the workforce for both. This can be accomplished through attrition, early retirement or even privatization of certain departments.

Mr. Friedman also speaks of streets paved in gold down near our state capitol. Show me a state capitol area in the whole USA that does not have better infrastructure than other parts of their states. As for Indianapolis, we have several major state highways as well as federal interstate highways that intersect near our state capitol as they do in other states.

Mr. Friedman also speaks of what the county commissioners say about this. Why do we not hear from them personally? They were elected by the voters to represent us, not Mr. Friedman. By my understanding, he was not elected but appointed counsel on legal matters. This does not seem, in my opinion, to be a legal matter. He never was anything more, never have been anything more, and never will be anything more than just an appointed county attorney. Please let our elected public servants speak for the taxpayers who elected them to do so.

Now before Mr. Friedman pumps up his chest and tries to belittle me as he have tried to do to others, I will explain a thing to the people reading this. I have run for county council twice. Unfortunately I lost both times. This is no big letdown for me for two reasons. The first being that I am a businessman and have had far bigger problems to deal with, and the second is because I am a man. I have learned a long time ago to suck it up and  move on to the next item in life.

By my recollection I have never seen Mr. Friedman’s name on a ballot. Could it be that he would be embarrassed to find that the voters do not value his opinion as much as he does?

I personally believe that the state does a good job of distributing road funds. If the size of our local governments were decreased, that would free up more local dollars to do local projects on our own instead of expecting others to help us constantly. As has been said before, there was a county property tax problem that forced the city to spend in excess of a million dollars. This was a county problem, not a city problem, yet Mr. Friedman choose to ignore this and tell the people of the city what they should do. This advice, in my opinion, is not wanted or worth anything more than a bucket of warm spit. We the taxpayers should demand better of our public servants.

I will also bring this topic up again for the taxpayers to watch out for: several  county officials were seen coming out of the Herald-Argus building. Mark my words, folks, they will be purchasing that space and filling it with more unneeded and unnecessary public servants in exchange for votes. This happened in the past with the Hiler building as well the building of the jail years ago. We all know what families profited from these deals. The time is now to stop hiring and start firing. It is also the time to sell properties like the LaPorte County Home and stop buying more.

I urge every taxpayer get a copy of The Kernan-Shepard report. Wake up, folks, and do research on who you vote for as well as who is supporting them behind the scenes.

Steve Holifield

Local businessman and taxpayer

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