When it comes to economic growth, I often hear leaders say, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” In other words, when our economy expands, they reason, everyone does better. That would be true if we were living in a society where everything is equal. But we don’t, at least not yet. We live in a society where ideas, innovation and competition are supposed to be the drivers of individual success. More successful privately owned businesses equals more local tax revenue which can be used to ensure the services critical to business success can be supplied by the local government: roads, utilities, communications, etc.. Following such a model even helps those who are not business owners by holding down borrowing and interest costs by the local government because the local tax base is healthy.
In various communities around Rock County, there are initiatives that claim to “raise all boats.” The problem, of course, is that these leaders have tunnel vision. They see the tide level and believe the higher it goes, the better everyone is. What they ignore is the fact that all the boats are different sizes and ages. If a smaller boat has a shorter anchor line … a rising tide may be very detrimental. If a large yacht is moored under cover, the rising tide may cause damage to the structure.
In truth, government at all levels need to get out of the way of business and quit trying to sell us the advantages of using tax dollars to pick winners and losers in the business environment in order to attempt to ‘raise all the boats’.
Today, the argument for creating TIF districts and bonding to support private entities is labelled necessary to compete with other communities because “everybody is doing it”. My mom would be asking if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you do it too?
If you believe your local, state and/or federal government is no longer representative, it is time to be a changemaker. We need to encourage participation in elections at every level. We need to stop electing powerful and popular candidates in favor of candidates who profess to have a true vision of stewardship and service.
People follow good leaders willingly. If that’s not how you feel about your elected officials, it’s time to put candidates on the ballot who can put forth policies that constituents want to follow, not ones that people feel they have no choice but to follow.
December 1 is the first day to circulate nomination papers for this spring’s election. It’s our chance to encourage candidates who care less about the water level, and more about the opportunity for us all to choose the type of boat we want to sail in.
Are you willing to lead, or know of someone willing to do so? The Rock County First Political Fund is equipped to help new candidates considering a run for local office. The election is next April but planning starts NOW! Here is how RCF PF can help. Click HERE.