This hit Twitter today with a bang, or at least with more than a whimper:
Government Budgeting 101 pic.twitter.com/3Y7WYODuv4
— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) August 30, 2015
As is my wont, I checked its papers. It’s quite true, but it’s nine years old. Let’s continue, shall we?
Lane County [Oregon] will spend up to $250,000 this year publicizing its tight financial picture, in hopes that voters in November will approve higher taxes for public-safety services.
It’s an amount for county spending on publicity that has been unparalleled in at least the past 10 years. And it illustrates the seriousness of the effort to persuade voters to approve a county income tax for public safety.
Still, the irony of spending big to publicize the county’s frugal ways was troubling for Commissioner Bill Dwyer, board chairman, who nonetheless joined in the unanimous approval of the amount Wednesday.
“We got our hand out (for more money) on one hand, and we’re spending money with the other,” Dwyer said. “That’s a dilemma that we face.”
The commissioners hope that an intense, 10-month public-information campaign that hits media, the general public, the county’s own workers and specific groups will convince people that they’re getting a lot of county services for their money. That could encourage support for the county-wide income tax, which would generate $70 million annually to fund current and additional public safety services.
But officials must be careful not to spend money advocating for the income tax, as that would violate a state law that governs how public money can be spent on campaigns, county attorney Terry Wilson said.
Careful with that advertising, Eugene.
Oh, and did their campaign succeed? It did not. The county imposed the tax anyway.