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Editorial: Budget time

Posted: May 10, 2018 2:45 p.m.
Updated: May 11, 2018 1:00 a.m.

As the days get warmer and May turns into June, a number of events will be taking place, from school graduations to summer vacations.

What a number of people may not realize, however, is that your local government bodies -- county council, Kershaw County School Board, city of Camden, for example -- will be working on their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.

This can mean a number of things to people. For one, there will be discussion on subjects such as school security and how best to pay for it. There will be many things we will want to see done -- and limited funds to do them.

We would offer a couple of observations. First, the best way to work to ensure your tax dollars are wisely spent is to get involved. Attend government meetings. Educate yourself on the issues and voice your concerns to those who make decisions.

Also, beware of people who say they will never raise taxes. That only happens in fantasy land. In fact, there are a very limited number of revenue streams -- and all of them originate from the public. Call it a tax, call it a fee, call it a bond issue; we are paying for it one way or the other.

Finally, we would suggest that as you familiarize yourself with local issues, you will find that most of our problems originate upwind of us. That is, local governments aren’t usually the ones coming up with new and exciting ways of wasting your tax dollars. Most of the time, macro level ideas that become unfunded mandates at the local level originate at the state and federal levels and are passed through to us. In fact, everyone should be demanding that the state legislature follow its own laws and fully fund local governments, something they haven’t done in many, many years.

That said, every citizen has the right -- and in our view, the responsibility -- to stay informed and hold their government officials accountable.

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