Monday, September 8, 2008

Why Do I Still Live Here?

Well, the short answer of why I continue to call Montgomery County home is that the housing market is in the tank, but beyond that, I really DO wonder sometimes why I stay in the county that I've called home virtually my entire life.

Regular readers of this blog have heard me bitch in the past about the broken county government that has never seen a tax it didn't like. It simply costs way too much to live here, and it's largely because the labor unions representing county workers are pulling the puppet strings that control our elected leaders. I say this, by the way, as the husband of a county school teacher.

The latest abuse and waste? A new audit from the county shows that more than 60 percent of the county cops who have retired over the past four years were placed on disability as they walked out the door - ensuring them of 2/3rds of their full-time pay for the rest of their lives tax-free. One of the "disabled" officers who retired won a fitness competition just a year after retiring! If the officers had simply taken retirement benefits, they would have been entitled to 60 percent of their salaries, and would have been taxed on that money. Their benefits would also have dropped considerably once they started receiving social security.

I don't know enough about labor contracts or the law to know whether anything can be done about any of this, but I DO know that there's plenty of fraud being committed, and as a taxpayer, I'm being left holding the bill again.

What's really at the bottom of all this is the imbalance of power in Montgomery County politics, where there is not a SINGLE elected Republican officeholder. The Democrat lawmakers are all beholden to the labor unions that helped them get elected - the same unions that can damned sure get them UN-elected if they don't toe the line. The Democrats would never admit to this, but they (and county residents) were better off when there were still a few liberal Republicans around to offer some pushback. Instead, the County Executive and Council are in many ways just pawns to the real power base.

Where have you gone, Howie Denis? A county turns its lonely eyes to you!

No comments: