kuangning: (angry)
[personal profile] kuangning
That or knowing that things cost money is skewing my perspective.

I'm watching all the furor over Gene Cranick, and still wondering why it is I'm supposed to be crying over him.


  • He doesn't live in South Fulton, so he's not entitled to their services unless he buys them; he pays them no taxes.

  • When the fire departments tried charging after they put out fires, fewer than half the people actually paid them, and they had no way to collect.

  • His rural community has repeatedly shot down the idea of paying a property tax for fire service.

  • He was reminded by letter and by phone (3 times by phone!) that he had not paid the fee and would not be protected in case of a fire.

  • His own grandson started that fire, burning trash in a barrel and then leaving it unattended in the middle of a dry spell.

  • Cranick's family had more than enough time to get their pets out of that house; the fire started in the back yard, and was only at a shed when they called 911. It moved *slowly* toward the house.



So ... you absolutely don't want a tax, you don't want to pay the fee, but you do want service when your family starts a fire, and you do want sympathy and outrage when you don't get it? Good luck with that. If a human life had been at stake, sure, they should roll the trucks. But for your possessions and the pets you yourself couldn't be bothered to take outside (or open a door for) in the hour-plus time it took for the fire to actually reach your house? Not so much.

For the record, I think fire service, like police service and health care, is or should be a public good, available to everyone and paid for by mandatory taxes. However, you can't leave off the paying for it part.

Tennessee has NO state income tax unless you receive income from stocks and bonds. Fire departments aren't under federal jurisdiction, nor do they really need to be; federal oversight would be very unwieldy for something that needs to be there on a community level. So you can't say "where does his tax money go"; his federal income tax doesn't cover this any more than yours or mine does, and never has, and he probably pays no state tax at all.

Living outside the city, he pays none of the city's taxes. And, for the record, that's a selling point when people go buying homes; they deliberately look for houses on the outskirts of a town but outside the limits because of those low taxes. (By the way, those rural residents also account for more than their share of the calls to the FD!) And when the issue of a property tax was raised, precisely to pay for this service, the rural community refused.

You can't force them to vote it in, but you can't keep offering the service outside the city limits at the sole expense of the city residents who do pay for it with their taxes, either. How to make the rural residents shoulder their share of the cost, given that taxing them is right out? Well, the only way left is subscription. So that's what they have. It's ugly, but it's bound to be; they turned down the better options. And if, knowing that this is what's there, someone declines that subscription, it's not anyone's fault but his own when his house burns and the FD doesn't give him the service he's declined to pay for. They would have come if a person were in there, but with no human life in danger, why should they risk their lives to save the property that evidently wasn't worth a $75 fee to him? And why on earth should I be angry that they didn't?
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kuangning

September 2015

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