Sunday, February 19, 2006

Beware the IACT of March...and February...and

Mankind has been issued many admonitions through the years. Centuries ago philosophers and soothsayers warned us to “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”, and to “Beware the Ides of March”. Those who chose to ignore these warnings did so at their own peril, and with most unpleasant results.

George Washington gave us some excellent advice shortly after our nation was founded when he cautioned to “beware of entangling alliances”. We chose to ignore old George on that one, and now we have troops and money entangled all over the world.

150 years ago, Henry David Thoreau made a very astute observation when he told us to “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” A lot of people don’t put much stock in that warning. I consider it a way of life.

When I was growing up, my Dad warned me not to run in the haymow, don’t let the bull get between you and the fence, and don’t stand behind a cow on fresh pasture. He was right, of course, although many times I wished I had just taken him at his word and avoided the actual object lesson.

Now, I don’t claim to have the political savvy of Washington, or the natural insights of Thoreau or my Dad, but I have come to a realization in the last month or so, and I would like to pass it along. Beware of organizations that have no goal other than to expand government and increase taxes.

Since this session of the Indiana Legislature has convened, (and since I hope, voters willing, to be a part of that legislature after November), I have been following the progress, or lack thereof, of the 440 bills that were introduced this year. As the count thins down to the bills that actually have a chance of being enacted, it is interesting to note how some of the players are reacting to those bills.

IACT, the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, released its Legislative Summary, which outlines the organization’s stance on the various bills being considered. The report leaves no question as to the priorities of IACT. House Bill 1010, which is one of the legislature’s attempts to restore the property rights that were stripped away from private citizens by the Supreme Court and it’s eminent domain ruling last June, has been targeted for defeat by IACT.

House Bill 1399, which IACT helped author, contained no less than four new taxes that municipalities would have been at liberty to enact. Although that bill died in committee, the organization is working to have the most offensive portions of the bill amended into House Bill 1001. While 1001 in its current form does contain provisions for limiting property tax increases, IACT is working feverishly to have those provisions removed.

A careful study of the summary, which is available on-line at the IACT web-site, reveals that they are opposed to any legislation that strengthens and protects private property rights or weakens the local municipality’s ability to seize that property. It also finds them in favor of as many new and varied taxes as the legislature can dream up, while only paying lip service to the goal of property tax reduction.

Some libertarians around the state believe that IACT is simply evil. I don’t know about that, but I do know I can’t find one instance where they support the individual over the state. That makes me wonder if we shouldn’t beware of anything IACT supports.


Blogger Dan Drexler said...

I admit, Rex, I come from the "IACT is evil" camp of libertarians. In fact, I think I plotted the first anti-IACT campsite in my backyard.

However, stepping back to be objective for a moment, something for which I truly hate to do, IACT in and of itself is not evil. The real problem is they represent the interests of the elected officials who I cannot trust to do what is right for their constituency. If their membership advised them that they want to fend off new taxes and protect property rights for citizens at any cost, I am confident the staff at IACT would represent those directives professionally and in earnest.

It would be a wonderful world if we could hold each and every elected official accountable. But, until we're able to do that, I believe we must focus on the voice that represents and speaks for them. In today's Indiana, that happens to be IACT.

Great posting...let's go win a statehouse seat!

Dan Drexler
Executive Director
Libertarian Party of Indiana

2:06 PM  
Blogger Libertarian Jason said...

Great post, Rex... Very well put.

6:55 PM  

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