Via Pandagon, I present Colofado Springs, CO. Colorado Springs is home to, among other things, the Air Force Academy and Focus on the Family, as well as Ted Haggard's former mega-church, Saddleback. If you think this means the population skews Republican, then you're awake and cogent. So what else, other than Hippie Jesus (because they love their gun-toting version instead), do these brand of Republicans hate? Taxes. But that hatred of taxes is now coming back to bite them on the ass.
More than a third of the streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark Monday. The police helicopters are for sale on the Internet. The city is dumping firefighting jobs, a vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops — dozens of police and fire positions will go unfilled.We've already seen cuts of this nature in Broward County, though not of this magnitude. Yet.
The parks department removed trash cans last week, replacing them with signs urging users to pack out their own litter.
Neighbors are encouraged to bring their own lawn mowers to local green spaces, because parks workers will mow them only once every two weeks. If that.
Water cutbacks mean most parks will be dead, brown turf by July; the flower and fertilizer budget is zero.
City recreation centers, indoor and outdoor pools, and a handful of museums will close for good March 31 unless they find private funding to stay open. Buses no longer run on evenings and weekends. The city won't pay for any street paving, relying instead on a regional authority that can meet only about 10 percent of the need.
I say yet because I have to believe they're coming. Even if Democrats in Florida get a double winner next year in Kendrick Meek and Alex Sink--far from likely, I'd say--unless there's some massive turnover in the Legislature, we won't see any tax increases or reforms which would increase revenues for municipal services. This legislature has already made clear that they adhere to the Republican dogma that tax and budget cuts are the only tools they are willing to wield when it comes to balancing a budget, and there won't be any Washington stimulus money to bail them out this time.
I'd like to think that these sorts of cuts will wake voters up, once and for all, to the realization that you can't have services if you won't pay taxes, and that paying taxes is, in fact, a patriotic thing to do. I'd like to think that, but I have little faith that people will learn the lesson, because there are too many steps between local park closings and Tallahassee Tea Party rhetorical flourishes. I fear we'll just get more of the same.