'Don't Gouge Me; I Live Here'

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It's trying to happen here. Widen the highway and squeeze the residents.

Not living within the town limits of Payson, I try not to delve too deeply into its politics at least until it has a direct impact on me, my family and my friends. I'm referring here to the proposed sales tax the infamous bed, board and booze tax.

(Councilmember) Jim Spencer used the term "discretionary spending" when referring to the money that local citizens spend in local eating establishments. You know, the only people who use that term today are politicians. It freely translates into "spending our money at their discretion." If Spencer has discretionary funds, he should research the charities that could use the money.

The term "leveling the playing field" (also has been used). Did anyone notice that they neglect to say what teams are playing on this field? If this new, proposed tax is to make the citizens pay up, much like the bed tax, then abolish the bed tax.

Which brings up the subject of tourism and making Payson a "destination." This is one of the greatest myths around. We are not the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park, Yosemite or Disney Land. I would challenge all members of the Payson Town Council to sit in the parking lot at the corner of Highway 87 and Highway 260 from noon on Thursday until 10 p.m. on Friday and count the number of cars that turn the corner and continue driving.

We are fast losing our place in the tourism world. Like it or not, with a wider, faster highway, it will get worse. So if we are not a destination, what are we?

Those of us who live here, like to refer to Payson as home. It's a town where people know one another. It's a town where people can make it a habit to go to dinner with friends at local restaurants and lounges without having to say, "Let's meet for dinner down at the local tax collector's place of business."

In 1962, I was Motorola's resident aerospace engineer at Boeing in Seattle. The World's Fair was opening in April and was scheduled to run until October. The fine fathers of King County and the City of Seattle looked upon this as that famous goose that laid the golden egg.

They were going to add a sales tax to virtually everything that a visitor might buy from soft drinks to road maps. Within one week of their announced intentions, the hottest selling item was a 2-inch plastic button with the words, "Don't gouge me; I live here" (written on them.)

Maybe the rodeo committee should break out the badge maker and take advantage of this golden opportunity. After all, the funds collected for the badges would go to scholarships, and those who purchase the buttons could feel that their "discretionary spending" was helping to "level the playing field" for a needy student.

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