Gail Weiss lives in Montgomery County, Maryland.
To Whom It May (or who I hope will be) Concerned:
Please let me be clear – I do not have a blanket opposition to the county government providing goods or services to those who need it without the recipient being required to pay an additional fee for its receipt. However, I continue to be increasingly offended every time I see a government communication proclaiming ‘they’ are giving “FREE” this or that, as the county notice attached below does.
Government cannot give anything for FREE. You are providing something that TAXPAYERS HAVE FUNDED VIA OUR TAXES. So please stop diminishing what MoCo taxpayers contribute while you – the county government – acts like Santa Claus on OUR dime.
The lack of transparency of the cost of “FREE” stuff in Montgomery County government is bad enough, as this blog post discusses:
“Unlike out-of-pocket costs paid by hospital patients, MoCo’s testing costs don’t directly hit the wallets of those being tested. But they do hit residents’ wallets through their tax bills. On top of that, possible litigation with AdvaGenix looms. The fact that MoCo taxpayers do not know how their tax dollars are being spent is highly problematic. And that is the case because their county government wants it that way.”Seventh State Blog
Do you not want to remind taxpayers how and where you are spending our money? Or is it that you want the “credit” for being so generous (with our money)? Or is it both?
If you may or may not be ripping off taxpayers without disclosing it, AT LEAST GIVE US CREDIT FOR FUNDING IT, whatever it is you are giving away with possibly foolish contracts you are entering into on our behalf. Henceforth, I hope in place of “FREE” we will see “TAXPAYER FUNDED.” It is much more accurate and much more honest.
I often hear “words matter” and if that is the case then let’s see it. Please stop disrespecting the taxpayers and please correct the lack of precision and accuracy of county government communications and STOP saying ANYTHING is “FREE” when it in reality has been PAID FOR by taxpayers or, on occasion, with the help of other private stakeholders.
That is the sole request here. This is not rocket science. But if this is beyond the capabilities of any of the current county government elected officials to fix this, then voters should bear that in mind in two years.
Voters should expect a higher level of communication from our county government-elected office holders, as well as from the county government employees who execute their will. And we need a county government structure that allows us to know much more clearly exactly WHO to hold accountable when there is a lack of performance.
I am viewing this – replacing “Free” with “Taxpayer Funded” in official government communications – as a tiny test that has now been brought to the attention of the entire Council – and it has also been shared with a few fellow-MoCo voters too, to raise their awareness. This test will be graded Pass / Fail. We will all benefit together if you earn a Passing grade.
- Main image credit: Ben Garrison