The befuddling default impulses of government do not change. Today’s post addresses two ham-handed developments, one at the state level and the other close to home in South Weber.
Why do we need a new agency to promote Utah outdoor recreation tourism? We already have tourism and economic development offices. But, no, the governor and the Legislature want to create a new bureau to focus on economic development possibilities in outdoor recreation.
New offices and bureaus need directors, office staff, office space and other budget lines. If this new endeavor carries no cost increases, as the sponsors say, then we should believe anything. There is no good reason this program cannot be added to the role of one of the existing related departments. If necessary, existing low-return program efforts should be dropped to make room for focus on the outdoors push. We have enough offices and bureaus in state government.
Another option: If they’re determined to create a new agency, a low-priority agency elsewhere in the state bureaucracy should be killed off to pay for it. Well, don’t bank on it. Government almost never eliminates an agency. Only new ones are added. It’s in government DNA. People need to put a stop to it, because the lawmakers and executives we keep electing aren’t budging.
My favorite example is the federal Homeland Security Department. After the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, government launched into spasms of reaction, some good, some bad. One of the worst manifestations was the creation of the bloated Homeland agency. Its duties could have been assigned to existing federal departments. Instead, we got a huge new layer of bureaucracy with hideous, growing price tags. Homeland’s budget in 2002 was $19.5 billion, jumping to $37.7 billion in 2003. It was $56.9 billion in 2012 and the budget hog no doubt will continue to expand in perpetuity.
Now, on to South Weber. Scott Casas built a wind turbine attached to his garage, but he can’t use it yet. The city wants to regulate it.
Perhaps wind turbines in residential areas deserve some level of government regulation. That’s up for debate, in my view. But regardless of the answer, the mishmash of procedure, bureaucracy and delay Casas has been confronted with is ridiculous.
It’s like South Weber officials have been taking lessons from federal and state bureaucrats on how to gum up someone’s life for kicks.
Casas already has been forced to pay $800 in fees to South Weber. It will be two more months until the city council will even get to consider the city staff’s wind turbine regulation ordinance. The city manager says they want to make sure they are “doing it right.”
They are, if the goal is to provide a textbook case of a city nitpicking, obsessing, delaying and charging fees on what should be a simple matter. I wonder what else South Weber’s running through a quicksand gauntlet.