Jun 15, 2009
Editorial tells the county GOP to care less about billboards and more about veterans
Writing headlines is a lost art, and the copy editor at the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus responsible for the headline of Sunday’s editorial deserves an award for this one, “Quit making veterans beg for small tax.”
The excellent editorial takes the all-Republican Livingston County Board of Commissioners to task for their refusal to levy a required millage to provide money for a fund for the relief of honorably discharged indigent members of the military and their families. The 1899 law mandates that each county levy one-tenth of a mill for the fund, and the Livingston County Veterans Committee, consisting of five members appointed by the Board of Commissioners to oversee operations of the Veterans Affairs Department, is only asking for half of that. It would cost the average homeowner in the county less than $7 a year.
The Board of Commissioners’ Human Resources Committee decided it needed further study, and they kicked it down the road. Apparently, support the troops is just a campaign slogan for the Republicans, and the Livingston County Republicans care more about their billboards claming the county has the lowest tax rate in the state than veterans.
American Legion Post 141 in Howell sent out a mass email asking the more than 13,000 veterans living in the county to attend tonight’s meeting of the board’s Finance Committee. The email said, “Veterans Office traffic is up. Contacts with the Veterans Office rose over 40 percent between 2003 and 2008, and are up an additional 15 percent in the first three months of this year. The combination of increasing veterans, the bad economy and an aging veterans population is creating a lot of pressure for helping veterans.”
The newspaper’s editorial said it pretty clearly, “the Livingston County Board of Commissioners should do the right thing and levy a small tax that will guarantee a fund to provide support services for indigent military veterans and their families. To do otherwise — or to pass the buck by holding an unnecessary election on the matter — is not only a slap in the face to those we relied on to protect our freedoms, but also disregards a clearly stated law.”
The editorial also picked up on the county GOP’s decision to worry more about appearances than doing the right thing, “but the county board has been balking. In so doing, it gives credence to critics who believe the all-Republican board is more interested in protecting its low-tax status — trumpeted by the county Republican Party before last fall’s elections — than in providing services for veterans.”
The Finance Committee meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday in the commissioners chambers at the courthouse annex, 304 E. Grand River in downtown Howell next to the Historic Livingston County Courthouse. The meeting is open to the public.