Opinion: Time for both taxpayers and county officeholders to make things right

Once again tax sale season is upon the taxpayers of LaPorte County. Published in the Herald-Argus recently was a listing of properties being put up for sale by the County Commissioners. These properties are being auctioned off because the owner is behind in his/her taxes (rent to our elected public servants). They’re a full 8 pages, five columns wide. Yes, 8 full pages of people who could not pay their taxes in order to feed a bloated government that is out of control with spending, hiring, and regulations.

Two things come to mind when reading this list. One is that a number of the parcels have been sold over a year ago and, speaking with the new owners, they were shocked to find out that the properties are listed. They are now pulling up their closing documents and are finding that, indeed, the taxes are current. When contacting the closing companies and the local public servants, they are told, “Oh, I guess we made a mistake.” This is unacceptable. There is no excuse for this considering the number of servants these offices have on the taxpayers payroll.

The second that jumps out is the sheer number of parcels. Just like the previous sales have had. Maybe it is time the elected public servants consider the fact that the taxes are too high in our county. Every time there is an election, we hear that if elected they will help to change how our government is run and they will lower our taxes. In my observation the number of public servants steadily increases and it is the same old  thing. Our government does not reform or, for that matter, shrink.

I do not know about others, but for the most part I and others I have talked to have not seen much relief, if any, in the amount of taxes we pay. This is not entirely the fault of the public servants who work for the taxpayer. They are just doing a job. The blame falls squarely on the “elected” public servants and department heads who are not held accountable by us, the taxpayers. We as taxpayers are to blame for a portion of this also, by our electing the same people and parties election after election. Maybe the tax rate and the people we elect also have something to do with our county unable to attract new businesses?

If something is not done soon we will be in the same shape as Illinois residents who can no longer enjoy the fruits of their hard work because of the tax burden being placed upon them by their elected public servants. It is true that we must pay some taxes for services that we as citizens require. We all need police protection, we all need some form of fire services and emergency first responders in case of accidents. We also need infrastructure to get from our homes to work and to conduct business. But some of the offices can be shrunk and, in some instances, eliminated, combined with others, privatized, or shared with surrounding counties.

In the coming elections of 2018 beginning with the May primaries and concluding with the general election in November, we will have the choice of either sucking it up and figuring out what we will have to do without having to pay an ever-growing government, or we can make changes that will help provide a better life and future for not only us but for our children and grandchildren. So please, when you step into the booth next time, take a moment to look at the candidate and what they stand for, not just the party affiliation behind their name. The Parties have failed us. If we have learned anything in our lives, it should be that there are alternatives available.

The parties, be they local, state or federal, no longer stand for what they once did in our parents’ time. You can be a Democrat and own a business and fight for smaller government and less regulation. Just as you can be a Republican and belong to a union and hold a blue-collar job. The time has come for major reforms in how our government functions. These reforms, needed for years, have become necessary now. It will be very difficult and painful to accomplish this. If we had elected people with guts in the past, it would not be so difficult now.

I have run for County Council twice and lost; no big deal. I have learned a lot by the losses and will use the knowledge to try and make our county better. You cannot win without first losing a time or two. One thing I did learn is how much money changes hands and the dishonesty (in my opinion) that exists. Those who have never been involved in government do not, or refuse to understand, that it is happening. So please take the time to look at new candidates for office. We already know what the status quo has given us. If they do not do what we elect them to do, then we have the chance to vote them out until they learn that as elected public servants they are elected to serve the public, not the parties.

Steve Holifield, a concerned, overtaxed and overregulated citizen

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