Cumberland Times-News

February 19, 2014

Why not help those who help the needy, instead?

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— Typically, I don’t expect to read about a conservative Republican county commissioner asking a conservative Republican state Senator to introduce a bill in the state legislature to increase fees or taxes.

And I especially don’t expect to see a conservative Republican state senator following through on such a request. But when I opened the Times-News this morning (Feb. 18), I was taken aback.

There it was. Right there on the front page — an article about Commissioner Mike McKay appealing to Sen. George Edwards to increase marriage license fees in Allegany County to provide funding for the Cumberland Historic Cemetery Organization (“Marriage license fees could fund cemetery organization”).

I thought, “Does this make any sense? What is the connection between a marriage license and the work of this organization? Is there any connection at all?

“If the commissioner and the senator are going to advocate for higher fees assessed on people getting married in Allegany County, why would they insist that the money raised go only to one organization? Why would they insist that it go only to this organization?”

Don’t we have plenty of other organizations worthy of additional funding? If neither McKay nor Edwards can think of any, maybe I can help them.

How about the United Way? Or if they want to get more specific, how about the agencies supported by the United Way? How about the YMCA? Or the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts? How about the Union Rescue Mission or the Family Crisis Resource Center? How about the Red Cross?

How about the youth sports leagues and teams in the county? How about after-school programs so that kids don’t have to go home to an empty house? How about Big Brothers and Big Sisters? How about the Salvation Army?

It seems to me these organizations are all attempting to do good things in Allegany County. Aren’t they worthy of dedicated special support? And I know there are many others, too.

And then I started thinking about the reaction of the county commissioners to the request made by Kevin Shaffer to provide funding for the food bank if the food bank ran into trouble meeting the needs of our local citizens in these difficult times (“County will not intervene after cuts to food stamp program,” Dec. 3, 2013, Times-News, Page 1A).

Well, his request was met with a resounding, unanimous, “No!” Why? Was it because it was Kevin Shaffer’s idea? I’ve been scratching my head all day about this.

If the conservative folks who rail against increases in taxes or fees want to make an exception to their hard and fast stand, why not see that increased funds go to organizations that can make the most impact for the neediest causes?

That would make sense.

Dale Sams

Cumberland