The Selling Of Snake Oil


By Jon A. Brake

Itís good for you. You need it. It will take care of all of your problems. Ever been bat bit? This will take care of it. Ever had red-eye? This will cure it. Ever lost a toe to frost bite? This will grow you a new one.

Think this cure-all is snake oil? It is not; it is the Riley County Commissionís 1/2 cent sales tax dog and pony show. The Commissioners are giving meetings telling Riley County citizens why they (the citizens) need to tax themselves to fix County Roads and Bridges.

What they will not tell the citizens is that taxpayers have already paid to have Roads and Bridges repaired. Each year the Commissioners set the Capital Improvement Program (list of all major items that need to be fixed) and then set the Budget to get the money from the taxpayers.

What they also will not tell is that each year the Commission votes to spend that money ear-marked for Roads and Brides on software, computers, buildings and other things.

Last week the Commissioners ask the Riley County Clerk to send a letter to all Riley County employees asking for names and phone numbers of civic organizations and church groups that they belong to so the Commissioners could make arrangements to put on the show.

This same letter was sent two months ago to all Department Heads and Riley County Attorney Bill Kenney took exception to the process. Kenney told the Commission that they could not use County money to promote the Sales Tax.

In the new letter "educational program" was added to get around the Kansas law.

If you would like for your organization to hear the other side call Publisher Jon Brake for his talk called "What Did They Do With The Money." The Free Press number is 537-8953.