Our nation, especially during this holiday season, is optimistically hoping there are signs of an end to a long - and not so great - recession. Unfortunately, this recession does not seem to be on the mind of area leaders and elected officials.
Consider over the past month, local taxpayers have seen unwelcome results that include:
A tax increase in the town of Pomfret, where 3 percent raises were included for officials who are elected - not under any contract.
A County Legislature that approves a 9 percent increase in county taxes, which was also endorsed by Executive Greg Edwards.
A proposal to increase tax rates and fees, at right, while reducing funding to cultural institutions in the city of Dunkirk by a mayor who received a $15,000 salary hike from Common Council in 2007.
A tax increase in the 1,100-person town of Arkwright as well as a tax hike in the 2,400-resident town of Sheridan.
All these tax and spending increases come at a time when a Wall Street Journal headline on Nov. 18 proclaimed "Inflation Virtually Flat."
Just what is responsible for these area tax hikes when there is no dramatic local or national cost of living increase? Public employee benefits, pensions and salaries, all of which have been negotiated and approved by area Town Boards, a County Legislature and the Dunkirk Common Council.
It's easy for these elected leaders to say they have no control over these spiraling costs, but in the end, they have approved all the local contractual agreements.
We also must mention - once again - that a number of residents paying taxes to these entities who cannot control the annual spending hikes in their municipalities are not getting raises. Those are the citizens who are entitled to Social Security.
So while the public sector continues to fatten its pockets - with no regret whatsoever - those who are longtime and loyal taxpayers collecting Social Security will go without an annual increase in their pay once again.
Where is the fairness in that?