*Editor’s Note: This opinion is in response to a Lake View by Judy Loman titled “Shifting tax dollar priorities” published in the Tuesday, April 16 Lake Sun.
I would like to thank Judy for bringing to the attention of your readers, the funding of PBS, and the inclusion of public tax money. I have been considering bringing to light the great contributions public television and radio return to the citizens of this country and beyond, as well. Imagine, just one dollar per person of these United States per year going to a broadcast service that provides non violent and educational entertainment for our children such as Sesame Street, (wow, when my kids were little and watching this before I went to work each day, I would catch myself whistling the theme song later in the day), as well as adult educational events, music from classical to jazz to contemporary to rock and roll and beyond, shows such as cooking, gardening, crafting, antiquity, science, nature, history, culture, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, sports, oh and the list is so long. She forgot to mention the unbiased, straight forward, up to the minute news that is consistently broadcast for free over the airwaves, without the sensationalism that comes from most of the news networks, paid for and over the air.
It's such a pleasure to hear news that is not accompanied by the anchors own opinions and rants, and by stockholder dictation. Our tax dollars and the contributions made through pledges by the general public do not fund gossip sensationalist "entertainers" like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, or Bill Cunningham, but instead focus on reality and honesty. Did I mention that Missouri taxpayers footed the bill for an $1,100 camera to watch over Mr. Limbaugh's bust at the capitol?
One example of this type of reporting I was extremely excited to stumble across at a St Louis PBS web site was a very recent article entitled "By the Numbers: Lobbying in Missouri". (Oh Judy, I know you and many other taxpayers in Missouri will be so exited too, as you seem to be extremely interested in how our tax dollars are spent).
It is a series of articles, that include graphs and charts, that disclose the amount of "gifts" lobbyists contribute to our state lawmakers in Jefferson City. The graphs include who the contributors are and the lawmakers that receive them down to the dollar. PBS has just started publicizing these numbers as of January 2013. I urge you and all concerned taxpayers in Missouri to go see for yourselves.
According to PBS, in just the first two months this year, Missouri legislators and state-wide officials received more than a third of a million dollars in gifts from lobbyists. Expensive meals, basketball tickets and clothes are all common gifts to the people that craft our laws and govern us. More than 90 percent of the money lobbyists spent on gifts was for meals. This is in spite of the fact that Missouri lawmakers receive a per diem of $104 for every day the legislature is in session, going toward food and lodging. That per diem money is paid for by Missouri taxpayers, and the state cannot be reimbursed for it. This money is in addition to the lawmakers salary. Did I mention tax free and paid for by the taxpayers of this state?
Page 2 of 2 - Man, I know a heck of a lot of hard working people that could use an extra $104 a day, tax free, plus free food and gifts to help them get by while they work. That one dollar a year contribution to PBS is starting to look better all the time. Again Judy, thank you for bringing this to our attention. I so look forward to seeing the PBS documentary of the "Memphis Soul" Cultural Exchange Program when PBS airs it.
Oh, one more thing: I still haven't found anything, at least at PBS, indicating that the sequester was President Obama's idea. Might that have been something you heard on the Limbaugh program? I am curious as to who you might you have been referring to when you used the word "we" in your last comment?