Residents of the city are used to surviving under the burden of a high cost of living index. We are also used to the heavy-handedness of government in a region dependent on government employment levels and proximity to Washington.

Private-sector employees, who do not receive automatic yearly raises and are not cushioned from the real economy by a blanket of comprehensive government fringe benefits, read the newspaper every day in dread of learning about the next government drain on their over-extended pocketbooks.

In the last year we have had: A Baltimore speed camera debacle, resulting in $100 million in fines and counting.

Water and sewer increases of 9 percent, to an estimated $1,276 for a family of four, which has doubled over the last 10 years.

A storm water remediation fee, newly established at $79 per household and set to increase every year as its cousins at the Department of Public Works have.

A bottle tax increase from 2 cents to 5 cents per bottle, and a trash fee recently proposed for those in the city who already pay the maximum income and real estate tax rates.

Private sector employees, who work at companies that are struggling in this poor economy, can only hope their employer is making more money this year than last, or there will be no chance for increased compensation in any form.

The infinitely elastic rubber band of taxpayer funds viewed by our public servants may finally snap.

Gary Moyer, Baltimore

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