Word on the Street: Greer Outdoor Smoking Ban a Scam – City is Broke and Desperate
Greer is pulling a full on Nanny Bloomberg by trying to hit people with Disorderly Conduct for lighting up a smoke in not just city parks but in parking lots. I hear They’re using a bunch of pantywaists who can’t be around a cigarette without crying (like man-child Steven Hartle who is quoted in a WSPA piece) as a distraction but the fact is Greer is lying about their financial picture and is much worse shape than anyone knows.
Not that the budget they admit to is anything to cheer about.
More than half of the budget of Greer comes from property taxes and only 1.58% is from fines. I hear the council is starting to realize that long term this isn’t going to work and that there is actual plans in the works to levy all kinds of fines that people basically can’t avoid. Especially because they’re starting to realize that property values in the city are overvalued and will drop.
Of course one of the problem with Greer is that their city government is bloated and corrupt. Check out page 15 of their budget and you’ll see that they dishonestly break the government up into four parts (general Government, City Administration, Council and Public Service) and when you add up the percentage of the budget the government agencies take up it’s almost 40% of the money. Meanwhile less than 10% of the budget is put aside for debt service even though interest rates will be forced to go up in the next few years.
Anyway, the hope is that people will blame the “New Yorkers” who are moving there for this little bit of Fascism, the poorer South Carolinians will move out and they can attract more “rich” newcomers while not looking like they’re milking the public or pushing out the natives. Of course the fact that people move here to specifically spend less money never really occurs to people like this.
In the meantime since people tend not to think about it when they light up the council is looking at $500-1000 a pop for these new tickets they want to hand out. Pretty sweet scam since in the first few months lots of people will get caught up in it because they’re not used to parks and parking lots being smoke free zones. I’m hearing the proponents think they can raise somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000 if they can hit people with the maximum fines and police get on board with enforcement. I can see that – all you have to do is catch 300 smokers and you have at least $150,000 right there.
Someone should ask the Greer council how nanny statism worked out for New York City. Just like NYC Greer is starting to have lots of disgruntled city workers with tales to tell so stay tuned.