The following eight points are taken from a longer message written (6-4-13) by Senator Jennifer Fielder—MT Senate District 7. I have her permission to share. She is writing about state government, but the smae concerns apply at the local level.
• The magnitude of money in government attracts far more folks who want to be on the receiving end than it does those who just want fair and functional government. Until that ratio improves, it may be impossible to rein in unnecessary regulation and spending.
• Special interest groups spent over $6 million dollars on lobbyists to pressure Montana legislators during the 2013 session. [Of course, locally the dollars are less and substitute “lobbyists” with “non-profits” and “visioning” groups]. Seems like a lot of money, until you compare it to the taxpayer dollars at stake. Does the average taxpayer stand a chance against organized forces like that?
• Getting to the bottom of [who wants your money and why] takes work. It would certainly help if well-intentioned citizens would do a little more research before clamoring onto any particular bandwagons as well.
• We have to be careful not to be fooled by catchy slogans, shallow campaign propaganda, biased media reports, or plays on our emotions which, too often, conceal a multitude of hidden agendas.
• It’s [the duty of government] to determine whether a proposal relates to an essential, necessary service of fair and functional government, or if it is motivated by piles of money to be gained from ill-advised government decisions.
• You see, there is so much money in government that almost everything in government is about the money.
• Some groups work very hard to provide factual information about their issue. Others stoop to the lowest of lows to invoke heart wrenching emotions, twisted half-truths, or outright lies. You really have to look carefully for all the angles.
• If we want fair and functional government, we need to look deeper than most people are willing to look.