New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper


Money Doesn’t Grow on Fees

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.” That is something that I was told repeatedly when I was growing up. My parents provided well enough for me, but their view was this; their job was to provide me with the essentials for living. Clothing, shelter, food, education, and safety. Anything they chose to provide me beyond that was at their discretion and typically limited to birthdays and Christmas. If I wanted something extra, such as a computer, or a new certain brand of shoes, or a certain book or toy, then I was on my own to pay for it.

As a result I was working from a young age. I raked leaves, I shoveled driveways, I pulled weeds, and I delivered newspapers until I was old enough for a real job. Since then I have pretty much always been working somewhere, even through college. This taught me that money comes from hard-work, and if I was going to make a purchase I thought long and hard before spending the cash.

Just like I told by my parents, that “money doesn’t grow on trees,” we need to tell our elected officials that “money doesn’t grow on fees.” Legislators, at all levels, have often tried to raise operating revenues using increased fees and fines. Ultimately these measures typically fall short of the mark. Fees are a necessary evil, but they should be used only to offset legitimate expenses, such as a service provided, that is closely tied to the fee, They should be targeted to offset the cost of perks, rather than basic services.

Fees increase the cost of doing business in New Britain, and in a highly mobile modern society there is little need to locate within a particular town. The market for investment is very competitive. Driving up fees to generate operating revenue is a short term fix that creates a bigger long term problem. The way to economic stability is to have a robust local economy that is business friendly. It is truly a gift that keeps on giving, because as you attract businesses the grand list grows and property taxes go down, making your town even more desirable.

As we enter budget season our elected officials need to prioritize. They need to realize that the money they take and spend is the hard earned money of taxpaying citizens. They need to act just as we would and carefully consider each expense as if they were spending their own money. It is the only fiscally and morally responsible way forward.

Mercier writes a story once a month based on concerns of members of the Citizens Property Owners Association.