Saturday, June 22, 2013

The dog park that won't go away

The scent of a dog park is in the wind again. Once again, other Cedar City dog lovers think I should entertain their dogs at my expense.

But, dog owners mustn't assume they can take thier dog to the dog park should Cedar City ever establish one. The group that has been lobbying the city council for a dog park has a long list of park rules including a total ban on all intact adult male dogs and all females in heat. If it is so important for dogs to have their own park for exercise and socialization, how do park advocates expect fertile dogs to socialize and exercise? Surely, they don’t expect fertile dogs to exercise by playing with their owners in the back yard and by taking leashed walks with their owners in their own neighborhoods! Also in the rules: Owners must clean up after their dogs. (Yeah, that'll happen.) They even would ban children under age 8 from interacting with their own dogs in the dog park.

I don't necessarily challenge the wisdom of the above restrictions. The taxpayer would be at substantial financial risk should someone -- or Fifi -- get a nasty bite. Nevertheless, dog-park advocates would cheerfully endorse the taxing of owners of above-mentioned exiled dogs, dog owners who choose not to use the park, as well as all non-dog-owners to pay for the park.

However, the real question is, do you think it's fair to tax your neighbor to pay for a place for your dog to play? If yes, how much do you think your neighbor should be taxed for a place for your dog to play?

What advocates of dog parks, skateboard parks, aquatics centers, trails, playgrounds, and other government-owned recreation facilities obviously fail to understand is that none of these things are free. For example, our aquatics center costs nearly a million dollars a year to operate! The taxpayer pitches in an additional $9+ per swimmer's ticket sold to keep that place running!

A couple of years ago, I was told that this little town of 30,000 has 14 parks and recreation properties costing the taxpayer over $4 million per year -- and that doesn't include the payments on the debt that bought and built all that stuff! The city is spending money on recreation as fast as Ben Bernanke can print it. Dog park advocates seem to share the notion that government money is free and endless.

The taxpayer pitches in millions to keep the Utah Shakespeare Festival and Utah Summer Games running. Worse, taxpayers pay for the signage and maintenance of privately-owned buildings on Main Street! Now, some people want a $6 million art museum too! The demands on the taxpayer never end!

Meanwhile, the city has an aging, leaking, and undersized water and sewer system and no money for replacement.

In spite of all that ballooning burden on the taxpayer, some dog owners say they want a dog park.

Please take a few minutes to imagine how much money you'd have left in your pocket if the local, state, and federal governments weren't constantly caving in to every demand for a taxpayer-funded park, monument, trail, playground, zumba/dance/exercise class, shooting range, after-school programs, theater, skating rink, rec center, library, bookmobile (anyone want to guess how much the taxpayer pays for each book-lent out of our library and bookmobile?), museums, etc. that goes far beyond the proper role of government -- the protection of your rights (see Declaration of Independence, second paragraph).

We need smarter voters.
The primary reason for government growth (and the "incumbent advantage") is that we've yet to convince people to refuse to be bribed with their own money. — Boyd K.
Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone. — Frederic Bastiat
Would you be willing to give up your favorite federal program if it meant never having to pay the income tax again? — Harry Browne

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