I made an issue of this during my campaign, and it was largely the excuse given when asked whether or not I was running a negative campaign. “All politicians go on trips, what’s the big deal?”
The big deal is these trips aren’t just trips. They’re vacations bought and paid for by taxpayers. Yes yes, I know that some conferences are worth going to. But Hawaii?
Media inquiries have government officials from across the U.S. mainland defending their decisions to attend the conference. Some boards have even decided not to allow any of their members to attend.
“I certainly would not have had it in Honolulu if I had my choice, but unfortunately I don’t get to choose the place,” Taylor said.
Although some government officials have canceled their plans to fly to Hawaii courtesy of taxpayers, a NACO spokesperson says the turnout is expected to settle at about 3,000.
Now the excuse given is that Hawaii has the best rural road network in the nation. Gee. . . would that be because of (a) it’s status as a group of islands, (b) its bustling tourist industry, or (c) it’s sparkling white sands and beaches?
As for the cost of the trip to Hawaii, Caroline Supervisor Calvin Taylor has this to offer:
Supervisors said the county’s road needs cost much more than a trip to Hawaii.
“You’re not going to pave roads for $3,500,” Taylor said.
And there’s what angers me the most. Calvin, it’s not your money to spend! It belongs to taxpayers, and when you’re talking about tax increases for this and that, there’s zero excuse for lawmakers to be trekking the world while raising taxes. Period.
I hope folks in the Port Royal District remember Taylor’s trip to Hawaii in 2007. I will.