By Tom Hinkle Anderson resident
The Herald Bulletin
---- — I was present at the Madison County Council meeting on May 13 to discuss reinstating the wheel tax. I was both amused and amazed by the theatrics that transpired and by the lack of competence and yet arrogance by the council president. He reminded me of a dictator when he stated, “I said two minutes! Now order in the council chamber!” (I’ll explain later.)
At the end of the meeting, he did not even know how to phrase a motion; he had to ask the attorney. He even had to ask the attorney if he could vote on the tax. It seems, at least to this casual observer, that this should be knowledge the council president should possess. There was one council member who was very professional, had facts and statistics and presented them very well. Too bad they fell on deaf ears.
When it was time to take comments/questions from the audience, the dictator laid down some ground rules. One was — each person would get two minutes to speak. Another council member asked to change that to three, and the dictator became loud and angry and made the above statement. Bam! He then hit the gavel. Then, he further stated, “I’m gonna go across each aisle and give each person a chance to talk, from front to back, until every person has had a chance to talk.” What does he do next? He violates his very own dictate. He states, “Where is John Paugh? John, come on down here. You get to go first.” All I could think was, “You hypocrite!” He asked all the ‘important’ people to come down and speak before we “common folk” got our chance. He gave the “important people” all the time they needed, but for the “common people,” when their two minutes were up, bam went the gavel.
The more he called “important” people down, the more I thought of James 2:1-13 in the Bible, when James talks about the sin of showing partiality. If ever anyone was sinning, it was the dictator during the meeting.
Then, we had the mayor of Elwood, who called himself a conservative. It seems, at least to this observer, that he is a RINO (Republican in name only). I do not know any true conservatives who stand on rooftops and yell for a tax increase the way he did. The Democrats who voted for the wheel tax are DINOs (Democrat in name only). They are liberals who, like all liberals, never met a tax increase they did not like. They do not truly care about the people. If they did, they would have voted against the tax increase.
This is not a once-a-year tax. Corporations, companies and small businesses will also pay this tax. But, unlike you and I, they will pass the tax along to the consumer (you and I) in the form of a price increase. So, every time we go to the store, pharmacy, gas station or call a plumber or electrician, we pay the wheel tax again and again. When our air conditioning breaks down and we call a repairman, we pay the wheel tax over again. It is the tax that keeps on costing all year long.
Someone who came to the microphone stated that over 50 percent of children in Elwood, and I believe also in Anderson (I forget the exact number), qualify for free or reduced lunches. That means their parents are poor and cannot afford another tax increase. Of course, this too fell on deaf ears. The council members had their minds made up. The dictator even said so. He stated, “I want to thank you all for coming and voicing your opinions.” Someone said, “Did you change your vote?” Without hesitation, he said, “No.” He also stated that 100 percent of the people he talked to in his district are for the wheel tax. Then he changed that and said, 90 percent. I was talking with my brother a few days later, and he said, “He didn’t talk to anybody I know, and I live in his district. Everybody I talked to is against the tax.” Evidently, my brother is lying because, as we all know, politicians do not lie.
The reality is, GM is long gone, and the census in Madison County is shrinking. The county and local councils are going to have to learn to live with less money. You cannot continue to tax people into poverty.
I know, when I retire, I’m outta here!