- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
In Joe Tieger’s Jan. 11 letter “Tier map is unbalanced,” he opines that the private sector accomplishments are only possible due to public investment and for that reason the recipients should be considerate of the public interest.
What Mr. Tieger is really saying is that because the private sector follows the rules that are in place, pays their fair share of taxes and works hard to acquire whatever assets they have, be it a business or land, they should be considerate and willing to redistribute their wealth for the public good.
He used a statement President Obama made, “If you’ve got a business, you did not build that. Somebody else made that happen.” I am not a business owner, but that statement infuriates me to no end. To say that a business owner who has put their blood, sweat and tears into their business to make it successful and profitable is only successful due to public subsidies is plain wrong and untrue.
The PBS series “The Men Who Built America” drives that point home very well. They provided the employment that allowed people to pay the taxes that the government used to pay businesses to build the infrastructure. In a capitalist economy, the private sector is the source of wealth and enables the government to exist.
The argument is that, in exchange for a landowner receiving lower taxes on undeveloped land, farmers getting depreciation on equipment, technical assistance etc., they should be comfortable with the government taking their property rights for the public good. If you were to think about this assertion, you would quickly realize that the reason taxes are lower on undeveloped land is a direct relation to its value.
Common sense would dictate that undeveloped land will have a lower taxable value than a developed piece of land. Depreciation on equipment for a farmer is no different than a business that depreciates office furniture. It is called playing by the rules.
Mr. Tieger’s statement regarding the need to reduce development in the rural area rings hollow. How can he say that development on well and septic is bad and should be stopped when he lives in the exact type of development he is so adamantly against?
So, who is trying to mislead the public? Is the real reason that he and others that are against rural development that they have their piece of the American dream and don’t want anyone else to have what they have? It is clearly not about the environment when studies and facts show that septic systems only contribute 4 percent of the total amount of nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay.
The argument that there was more forest, cleaner air and water, and more fish and wildlife is a misnomer.
The fact is that our waterways and forests have improved dramatically over the years. In the Colonial years, the settlers came over and clear-cut the entire area for tobacco and livestock farming. Landowners cleared to the water’s edge, they cut down timber and filled in wetlands to make way for large fields and pasture. Over the last 50 years, development practices have changed; there are rules and regulation in place that have allowed for the regeneration of forest and for the protection of streams and wetlands.
I would argue that we have more forest in the county now than at any point since Colonial times. We certainly have more preserved land, with more than 40 percent of the county currently in some form of protection.
To prove my point further, just look at the recent front-page article stating that the Chesapeake Bay has improved by 10 percent in the last four to five years.
The cost of infrastructure to support rural development was cited as a reason to stop this type of development. No one ever talks about the cost of infrastructure to support urban development. Urban development will require roads, sewer systems, water distribution, more firefighters and police, more jails and courts to handle increased crime, increased public transportation AND more parks, libraries, community centers and recreational areas, as well as more schools.
In the rural areas, water and septic are paid for by the homeowner, fire departments are volunteer, crime is less and requires less police presence, families have enough room that their kids can play in their backyard with the neighbors and provide their own transportation. Furthermore, the taxes generated by a rural home are 2.4 times more than that of a similar home in the urban core.
How much will be enough? What will be the magic number for preservation of land in Charles County? And why must it be on the backs of the landowners and farmers? As it has been stated in the past: if you want it, pay for it.
Robert Brough, Welcome