| || |
The gas boom means cash for Columbus not Appalachia
August 6, 2014 - Michael Palmer
Don't get started on the local roads. I hear every week the complaints filed about the increased truck traffic tearing up the roads, and the oil and gas companies (again not all, but most) expect the local government to be so happy about the boost to the local economy that they will foot the bill for the damage. Wrong! The roads are not designed to hold that kind of weight, especially with the volume of traffic.
The boom reminds me of the carpet baggers in the South after the Civil War. BACKGROUND: During the civil war Reconstruction Period (1865-1870) many people for the Northern States went South because it was so poor that there many opportunities for a person with money even a little money. For example you could own a farm by paying the past due taxes for as little as $25. These Opportunities attacked all sorts people from honest hard working farmers, to crooks, charlatans, con artist and of course crooked politicians. All these outsiders (identified by their Carpetbag) were called Carpetbaggers and still are in many places. It became the term to refer to a Yankee who moved to the south and usually meant a “damn Yankee and not to be trusted, a scoundrel”. Probably the worst Carpetbaggers were the politicians who used their positions in the corrupt Reconstruction Government to enrich themselves through bribes, graft and other despicable acts at the expense of native Southerners. My little dirt road was built by my great grandpa and a crew of local farmers working with hand saws, picks and shovels and horse teams with wagons. Back in the hay day of coal it was destroyed by a strip mine and closed for a while. The section which was rebuilt by the gracious coal company is the worst stretch of dirt on the entire road. Steep and washboard bumps constantly hamper the stripped section of the hill. If we are getting all of this revenue from the gas and oil, why can't our local government fix the problems? Once again, refer to the carpet bagger section of the blog. The state government has come up with a generous plan to distribute the funds equally across Ohio. Where was this generosity the past 30 years? Why isn't there a mechanism by which the counties can tax and keep some of the money to repair the damage to their roads and hire additional law enforcement to deal with the influx of money and crime? The boom may seem like a great opportunity for us hill billy land owners, but coal taught us a valuable lesson; What happens after the gas is gone? If there is not money put back into the communities we will end up with empty motels, bad roads and closed bridges. The quick millionaires will spend their money and with the funds to do so will likely move away instead of reinvesting in the community. Columbus is turning a deaf ear to the rural communities, not a surprise, they have done so for years. But we need to act now or suffer the consequences of all the cash ending up in the state coffers where the urban majority will legislate it into the big cities and leave us high and dry. Our local representatives have been fighting and presenting legislation, but there is little chance that their colleagues will legislate the money away from their districts to rural areas. We have but one representative in the house and a quick glance at the district map will confirm that the money, once it goes to Columbus, is not coming back. We will not run off the business by taxing the natural resources they extract, we need the money locally, if you have any doubt, just turn off the state highway onto a county or township road and let me know what you think of the ride.
Post a Comment