From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 9 - 10/19/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Letters This Week

I Differ

I thought Journal editor Rob Shaul was being a bit unfair a few weeks back in his attitude towards the wealthier people that have been moving into the county during the last several years. I wish to differ with him on several points.

First, I don't think it is 'unmannerly' just because a person decides to build a 6,000 square-foot 'trophy' home. For that matter, I don't think it is rude if a person owns or operates a $50,000 luxury car or boat. I admit that I am in awe of these things, and I will also admit to being a tad envious on occasion. But I would rather see people spend their money and put it into circulation, than just sit on top of it to watch it grow. When wealthy people build or buy, someone else gets better. Materials get purchased, contractors get work, and so on and so on. That is the way it works.

I've only been around for half a century, but I have learned you cannot make generalizations about the wealthy any more than you can make assumptions about any class of people. For the most part, I think most of them have worked very hard to obtain what they have, and I personally have seen multi-millionaires role up their sleeves and jump right down into some hard and dirty work, sometimes right next to me.

Most rich people have so far treated me with dignity and respect. So until one of them blocks my view or personally insults me, I am going to welcome them warmly just like other Wyoming people did to me some 17-years ago. That kind of atmosphere is, after all, what makes the West the best part of the country to live in.

And consider this, Rob: owning a 6,000 square-foot home can't be a complete bed of roses, either. 6,000 square-feet means more carpet to vacuum, more tables to dust, and more toilets to have to clean. I may be naive and wrong about this, but I still suspect that most of them are still doing most of that themselves.

Harvey Dabling
Big Piney

No to CARA

by U.S. Senator Mike Enzi

The Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) is seen by many in this state and around the country as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But dipping our hands in this pot now could have a very negative effect on our state and country in the future.

The legislation, passed by the House and now under consideration by the Senate in the final days of the appropriations process, would set aside, in a new big-government entitlement program, $45 billion from offshore oil royalties for federal land purchases, managing endangered species and other environmental expenses.

Indeed, the prospect of $30 million a year, Wyoming's reported share, to use for the welfare of our wildlife and wildlands is very appealing in a state that depends so heavily on these resources. The $3 billion per year bill is even more appealing to its authors whose states get much bigger shares than Wyoming. CARA also naturally has the support of President Clinton. It is an essential part of his Lands Legacy program. Presidential candidate Al Gore, who would reap a huge political harvest should this bill pass, is also a strong supporter. But there are a few important points that are being obscured by both the monetary and environmental greenery.

CARA requires a set expenditure even in years when little or no money is received from offshore drilling - and some of the states who will benefit the most will oppose any offshore drilling.

Without CARA there will still be expenditure of some of the offshore royalty money, but it would be done in a fiscally prudent manner that includes annual review and oversight subject to a balanced budget. CARA would mandate federal agencies spend an enormous amount of revenue over 15 years toward one purpose without Congressional oversight. But in a recession or when cash flows change we need flexibility. The environment is very important but this need must be balanced with priorities like Medicare, Social Security, schools, highway safety and construction, national defense and others.

"What about the budget surplus?" you might ask. This bill commits federal dollars years into the future whether there is any "surplus" or not. If there is "extra" money, I think we should use it first to pay down the national debt. Paying down the national debt is one of the most recognized ways to continue the growth of the economy.

Let's take a closer look at the funding source, offshore royalties, and ask another question. If offshore federal mineral royalties can be divided among the states through a formula, why can't the onshore monies be reallocated? If that happens, Wyoming will lose a significant portion of one of our largest sources of revenue for state and local government. You see the widespread support for CARA because everyone gets a piece of the pie. The craving for onshore mineral royalties would be no less ravenous and it would be just as difficult for Western states, with our low populations, to prevent once we set this precedent with CARA.

There are a host of other serious problems that we could face through the shortsightedness of CARA. Wyomingites have long complained about the increased control of our wildlife and wildlands by the federal government. It stands to reason that the more money we take from the federal government the less say we will have on how it is used. There is no guarantee that landowners will not be forced to sell their lands. There is no provision to compensate counties for taxes lost as private land becomes federal land.

Traditional uses of the land such as hunting, fishing and other multiple use could be compromised under CARA. Sure the money sounds good now, but we need to carefully weigh the risks of losing more of our independence and ability to manage the open spaces and wildlife that is so important to us.

I can see this legislation fueling a national hunger for dollars even for projects with little or no conservation value. So I ask, doesn't this money sound like the proverbial free lunch?

Senator Mike Enzi

Fostering Rewards

The following is an excerpt for presentation by a foster parent:

Being a foster parent means giving up a lot of your freedom, having your home invaded by a child who will probably destroy furniture and shatter your nerves. Being a foster parent means taking into your home and your heart a desperately ill child, nursing him back to health, and then having to let him go. You stand there with empty arms and a broken heart.

Taking in a foster child means creating problems within your own family that could be avoided simply by not becoming a foster parent. It means disrupting your home situation until the newly arrived youngster becomes adjusted (if he does) and then upsetting things again when he leaves.

But being a foster parent also means doing something so rewarding, so vital, so important with your life that there is no way to measure the blessings that heap up around you - even as you vow to never take in another one, never to allow yourself to become so involved with another child again only to have to face the heartbreak of giving him up. Even as you say "never again," you are waiting for a call from a social worker saying that they have a child who needs a home.

Being a foster parent means that you are working in the greatest profession there is - LIFE. It means your home will be filled with love and tears and laughter. It means, during a frightened child's tears, teaching her to smile and respond to love. It means walking the floor at night with a precious newborn baby. It means watching that baby grow and develop a personality. It means helping a confused teenager become an adult.

Being a foster parent certainly has a lot of drawbacks. But if you aren't afraid of facing problems; if you welcome the challenge of meeting a problem head-on and solving it; if you want to know that your life really counts for something, then help a child. Help mold his work. Help create a responsible future citizen.

In other words . . . become a foster parent! Contact Department of Family Services, 111 North Sublette, P.O. Box 1070, Pinedale, WY 82941(307) 367- 4124.

Christy Doak

Lodging Tax

Hellooooo! Doesn't anyone remember we used to have a lodging tax? What's the big deal? I have never had a customer refuse to stay nor comment on the exorbitant lodging tax in Sublette County. The only comments on sales tax I have ever had was shock at how low it was!!

Let's fund more important and pressing issues (how about guidelines for future town growth?) to ramble on about. Just past the lodging tax and watch the benefits to our county.

Maggie Palmer

Lodging Tax Support

I find it interesting that there are some people who do not support the Lodging Tax in Sublette County. For this reason I encourage everyone to educate him or herself on this issue before forming an opinion. Many people hear the word tax, and assume it means another chunk of change out of their pocket. However, in this case, the Lodging tax is a 3% tax visitors to our community pay. This means that the only time this tax is charged is when someone stays in a motel room. In turn, the monies generated from this tax will be used Countywide to promote local events. For example, if I am trying to organize a hockey tournament or a horse show, I will be able to apply for these funds to support my activity. This means that any event held in Sublette County promoting visitation to the county is eligible to apply for and receive monies to offset the promotion costs. As a result, any money used to advertise the event could come from this fund. It only makes sense to use this fund for the betterment of our County, and in doing so, we are also bringing in more business to our community.

Some of you may not be aware that the Chamber of Commerce in Pinedale has struggled for several years to become an effective organization. One of the largest hurdles the Chamber is facing is funding. The salary, for example, being paid to the person working in the Chamber Hut, utilities, postage and various other costs continue to plague the Chamber in its quest for success. The fundraisers that the Chamber conducts to support itself normally expend large amounts of time and energy for members and usually generate little income. If the lodging tax is passed, the Chamber will be able to effectively use the generated monies, to the betterment of the community as a whole.

Interesting statistics that some of you may also not be aware of show that while 20% of a visitor's dollar is spent on lodging, the other 80% is spent in our restaurants, shops and retail stores meaning more dollars for the community as a whole. As a way of supporting Sublette County businesses, the Chamber of Commerce, and every activity that happens in our county, I urge you to become educated on the Lodging tax issue, and then vote YES on November 7th.

Greg Anderson

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The Sublette County Journal, PO Box 3010, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3713
Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul