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Minnich: Simple solutions fall short as everybody wants more, but no one wants to pay for it | COMMENTARY

List me with the people who are not signed up for whatever “woke” means.

But if it still means the opposite of asleep, maybe the Republicans should get some more caffeine to go with whatever they’re munching from the Trump café of lies.

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Now the local delegation is telling us the world is ending because of what happened in Annapolis this past session. Del. Haven Shoemaker was selling the voting fraud fantasy on the eve of local elections. It’s all in for the job of wrecking public confidence in winners.

When members of the delegation met with the county commissioners, it became obvious that local GOP perspectives are primarily interested in (1) getting reelected and (2) putting a patriotic face on the accumulation of personal wealth by a precious few.

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Our representatives to Annapolis want unrestricted residential growth but oppose any increase in raising taxes to pay for the services that growth imposes.

That’s good for developers and those who sell them the land to turn into building lots. But it means spending more on roads, and statistics kept by the Maryland Department of Transportation show that no matter how many lanes are built and maintained, the increased traffic adversely affects drive time for commuters and congestion in local community traffic.

More houses are good on the face of it, but the Republicans dare thinking high-end, profitable pricing; they have no interest in making sure there is a plan for affordable housing for low-income buyers. They argue that the low-income homes do not provide enough revenue to pay for the increased needs for services. The flaw in that rationale is that the high-priced houses don’t either because the same Republicans who want to further enrich the rich will not support increases in taxes. Even if the big houses bring in more tax revenue, the Republicans want to cut the tax rate to reduce the pocket costs.

More high-priced houses built in the county add to the value of existing homes, which raises the assessed valuation of all homes. Good news — when and if you sell it. Bad news if your mortgage is not yet paid off and the tax rate lifts the amount you owe because you live in the midst of growing prosperity.

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So, the commute to work will take longer over roads that are not getting any better because the Republicans don’t want to pay for roads; they want the state to do it. The state doesn’t want to reward subdivisions for lack of good planning for growth. The costs of meeting the needs of the state’s citizens are a hot potato; neither local nor state government wants to hold it for long.

Everybody wants more but they don’t want to pay for it.

Even going cheap and failing to meet the needs of citizens with fewer resources costs money, and lowers the quality of life for average folks.

Public schools are still the backbone of the American system, but the Republicans are much more sympathetic to policies that serve those who can and will send their children to private schools. Then the wealthy seek to get vouchers from the government to reimburse their tax dollars paid for public schools they don’t use.

Wealthier parents expect more and are willing to pay the costs of turf fields and additional recreational facilities, but locals — including the new people once they get here and settle in — don’t want those facilities next to them. The NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) flag flies at every attempt to improve roads, school facilities, sports venues, parks, you name it.

The facts are these: Change is going to happen. Needs must be addressed. Stress is inevitable. It requires government attention, and ignoring change or needs is not conservative, frugal, or realistic. Nor is it inevitably unaffordable.

Political partisanship is for political parties and politicians; it is just a game of King of the Hill. Partisans spout rhetoric. Good leadership is less about partisanship and more about how to create a more enlightened vision of what could be if we work with something more than selfish personal biases and the intransigence of narrow-minded absolutism.

Dean Minnich is a retired newspaper editor and served two terms as a county commissioner. His column runs Thursdays. Send emails to dminnichwestm@gmail.com.

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