Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Monday, February 11, 2008

'Want' vs. 'Need'

Hold on to your pocketbooks, Portland taxpayers. The government wants more -- a lot more -- of your money.

As noted in today's Oregonian, the November election ballot will not just be the opportunity to select our next president. It will also be chock-full of wish lists from our friendly neighborhood governmental agencies. Everything from a new elephant habitat at the Oregon Zoo to a Hillsboro community center. Housekeeping items such as street and bridge repairs. Wish lists such as green spaces and education expansion.

But there were two things that really stuck out for me. One could be explained by reporter Andy Dworkin's lackadaisical word choice (emphasis mine):
Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation general manager Doug Menke, for instance, needs millions of dollars to buy and spruce up paths and parks in his rapidly growing Washington County district.
Uh, no, Andy, Mr. Menke and the THPRD don't need millions of dollars; they may want those millions, but there's no need. However, something tells me this was more than reporter error. I suspect that Mr. Menke and his board really believe they need such a windfall, and they presented it to Dworkin in that fashion.

The other thing that stuck out for me was a comment from Washington County Commissioner Roy Rogers, whose government plans to ask for a new public safety levy, a new fee on developers for street construction, and another tax on property owners for additional road improvements. Rogers argued that area governments should proceed with their myriad tax proposals so voters can pick and choose:
"If you go into the grocery store or department store and need 10 things, and you can afford five, it would be presumptuous of us to say which five things you get," Rogers said.
There's that word again: need. Mr. Rogers apparently thinks that the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax increases expected on this year's ballots are genuine needs, equivalent to the things we need in the grocery store. I wonder if he realizes that pulling hundreds of dollars in additional taxes out of our pocketbooks will make it that much harder to afford the 10 things we might genuinely need at the grocery store. You know, things like food.

Doesn't that sound like a wonderful day in Mr. Rogers' neighborhood?


  • At 2/11/2008 11:43 PM, Blogger OregonGuy said…

    Remember Saul Bellow's "The Rain King" and his hero, Eugene Henderson?

    That was the first time that I had had the dichotomy between "I want" and "I need" pointed out to me.

    I still hear The Rain King whenever I hear "I need".

    If you haven't read it, it is worth a read. Bellow is close to being "our" Swift. (Although Barth is.)


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