If anyone needed yet another example that government does not care about taxpayers, tax dollars, or efficiency then you just needed to look at today's Fishwrapper article:
Paid not to work
A disabled police officer stands guard over Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen at the Rose Garden.
An injured firefighter scrambles up mountains and through woods on his TV show, "Northwest Hunter."
Another disabled firefighter owns an upscale Portland restaurant, aided by city taxpayers who subsidized his training at the prestigious French Culinary Institute in New York.
All have one thing in common: Though clearly able to work, they continue to collect thousands of dollars in benefits each month from the Portland Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund.
City Commissioner Randy Leonard, a former fire union president and past trustee of the fund, says police and firefighters have come to depend upon a system that has proven to be stable, predictable and professional.
"If every bureau in the city ran as well as (the fund), we'd be a very well-run city," Leonard said. "They take caring for taxpayer dollars very seriously."
The fund is exempted from property tax limits, which means its tax rate can rise automatically to cover all of its costs. Other government services -- still subject to tax limits -- get what's left. As a result, the fund consumed $14 million that otherwise would have flowed to schools, libraries and parks over the past eight years.
I notice that the online version of this story is different than the print version and does not contain this:
The incentive is missing because money for the disability system doesn't come out of the budget the City Council and Police and Fire Bureaus control. Instead, the system is paid for directly by property taxes.
So reducing property taxes is not an "incentive" enough for government to be efficient. But wait, they have all kinds of government programs to help "create" affordable housing don't they? Yes, kind of like a crack dealer gives the first hit away free, government creates "clients" by screwing them and then coming to the rescue.
This story makes me sick. It sounds like a real "good ol' boys club" that knows it has a sweet deal on someone else's dime and doesn't want anyone to burst that bubble. The online version does have example after example (with dollar amounts) that show what these people were getting paid while they were doing other, very physically demanding, work. It also sounds like these people want to continue with their gravy train while at the same time their union is crying about the schools not having enough money.
How the residents of Portland and Multnomah County can continue to vote themselves higher taxes when it is clear to anyone with half a brain... oh, I just answered my own question. Silly me.
Bottom line: they just don't care how they spend your money.