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The conservative peeking in my window reminds me that he believes in lower taxes, limited government and personal responsibility. Then a look at local news indicates the county, the community college, several school districts, cities and the library district are considering higher taxes. The same news reports that Mohave County has a top three ranking as the reddest in the country.

 

President Trump received 70 percent of the vote in Mohave County last November. Several statewide candidates have been elected with the wide margin of Republican votes from the citizens of this county. Yet the Legislature and governor find ways to spend more tax dollars.

Are the conservative voters in Mohave County only concerned about spending in Washington?

Yes, property taxes are lower here than on the East and West coasts. That is a major reason retirees leave familiar home areas to relocate in the Mountain West. One can do a lot of traveling or stretch limited dollars more when property taxes are less for a year than they were per month in that former high tax state.

Yet, the criteria for a conservative should be accountability of spending, no matter the level of taxation. It is a proven economic fact that money in private hands produces wealth and money spent by governments is easy to waste. For example, if a private business cannot pass on the cost of labor and benefits to the customer and cease making a profit, they go out of business. If a government increases labor and benefit costs, higher taxes will cover the shortfall. Las Vegas papers just listed the number of employees making over $100,000 per year. Far and away the most were 500 firemen. Law enforcement was not included in the survey.

In Mohave County, cities and county law enforcement lose employees to higher pay in higher taxed areas in bordering states or higher pay in major cities. Chasing more tax dollars is a losing game because the higher taxed areas will just go higher. Is there a creative answer? Rural areas do have unique advantages. How about respect for the law and fewer gangs plus a safer place to raise a family?

That leads to an inventory of the reasons people live in rural areas. Cost of living is a major consideration. Housing costs are far less and a good part of that is property taxes. Even within this county, the cost of living varies widely. Citizens of Lake Havasu City pay a premium for the lake and the limited access to more building sites. Of course household incomes are higher than Golden Valley or other parts of the county. Yes, even with this very large county there are differences that must be balanced. Each of the three larger cities and the densely populated rural area of Golden Valley vary in need of government services.

Many new citizens find the advantages of rural life are not for them. They miss too much of the shopping, medical care, cultural offerings and good places to eat. Sometimes it is the heat along the river. Reaction can lead them to move back to where those things are available. Sometimes the reaction comes with an effort to change Mohave County into a place like they left. Others just complain about the new place and snub their nose at the “natives.”

Elected officials would do well to recognize the advantages and limitations of this rural area and not try to make it into another great city. That includes finding ways to meet needs without spending more money. Retired people seek lower cost of living and a slower pace. Growing is not always the answer. Spending more money may only create more issues.

One overlooked advantage in smaller, less densely populated areas, like this county, is listening to the citizens is easier. Individuals can be heard because there are fewer yelling in the ear of the elected official. Fewer rules and more allowance for individual needs and values can be tolerated. Exceptions to the rule are tolerated.

The first concern should be for frugal officials who do not look for more money as a first choice. Second, be slow to change what attracted citizens to settle here.

Note: Previous columns are archived at www.marvinswindow.com.

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