Thursday, October 30, 2008

$2.20 Gift Keeps on Giving, Pays Dividends

October 30, 2008, 7:00 a.m.
Looking for "The Economics of Conservation," October 28, 2008?
Related sources, most popular entries, at bottom this page.

A $2.20 Gift to Our Great-grandchildren
Nicholas Johnson
Iowa City Press-Citizen
October 30, 2008, p. A15

The conservation bond offers one of the best returns on an investment of public money we're ever likely to enjoy.

• What's it worth to bike or cross-country ski along a trail? A fishing trip with grandchildren? It's Mastercard "priceless."

• Economists say recreation's value can be measured. It's at least what we're willing to pay for outdoor equipment, travel costs and related expenses. Clearly, more than $20 million over 20 years -- including profits for local merchants.

• Savings. The 2008 flood cost UI -- one institution from one flood -- more than $200 million, 10 times the bond. Conservation's reduction of flood damage may be its largest pay back.

• If matching funds materialize, $80 million of conservation for our $20 million bond is a better bet than any in Riverside or on Wall Street.

• Increasing values. New York's $50 million investment in Central Park in 1853 now is worth $500 billion. Imagine what our $20 million investment will be worth 150 years from now.

• Land and water stewardship is supported by all major religions and denominations. They know it's essential to continued life on Earth for all, including humans. That's another "priceless." For detail see ("The Economics of Conservation").

Of course, those who oppose all public expenditure -- whether for libraries, schools or parks -- oppose the bond. Why wouldn't they? But they can't deny either its ecological benefits or these returns on our investment.

And when their RoboCaller tells me the added $2.20 a month is going to increase my property tax by 25 percent to 30 percent I think they must be living in a smaller house than my son, Gregory.

For $2.20 to be a 30 percent increase would mean I'm paying $7.33 a month in property tax, or an annual total property tax of $88. I don't know about you, but my bill runs a good deal more than that. Sufficiently so that I don't think I'm going to miss that $2.20 gift to my great-grandchildren.

Nicholas Johnson
Iowa City

As usual, the skillful and insightful Bob Patton has used his clever pen to pose the basic choice confronting Johnson County residents:

[Credit: Bob Patton, Patton's Pad: "Happy Little Trees," uploaded October 28, 2008, 2:19 p.m., published Iowa City Press-Citizen, October 29, 2008, p. A23.]

In short, what our elected and appointed officials prefer is to take taxpayer money and give it to what he depicts as bloated "Out-of-State Developers," holding plans for "strip malls," "big box stores," and "corporate chains." The alternative? To give a small fraction of that to the cause of conservation.

Here's another:

[Credit: Bob Patton, "Patton's Pad: Natural Selection?" uploaded October 21, 2008, 12:46 p.m.]

In a choice, a balance, between money on the one hand, and "our natural resources" on the other, the money seems to be the weightier.

Conservation Related, 2008

Great Outdoors of Iowa (greenbelts, greenways, 100 organizations, news, more)

Nicholas Johnson, "The Economics of Conservation," October 28, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Go With the Flow," August 19,2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Floodplains," August 9, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Flooding: 'We've Found the Enemy' -- And the Answers,"
July 17, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Iowa's Everglades," June 25, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Gazette's Flood Plan, Floodplains & Greenbelts," June 21, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Greenbelts and Floodplains," June 20, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Flooding, Greenbelts & Catching Up With State 29," June 18, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Floods and Football," June 17, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Greenbelts, Greenways and Flood Prevention," June 16, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "GO Iowa! - The G-reat O-utdoors of Iowa," May 5, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Voting for Our Great-Grandchildren," March 7, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Preserving for Our Grandchildren," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 20, 2008

Nicholas Johnson, "Greenbelts for Grandchildren," February 15 and 20, 2008
Currently Most Popular Blog Entries

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"Extra: Stolar Report," September 18 and 19, 2008.
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