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Who else watches Parks and Recreation on NBC? Don’t be ashamed … it’s hilarious (even if the subconscious goal of the show is to humanize utterly worthless local government bureaucracies).

Anyway, up in Anderson County, S.C. – home to several such bureaucracies – employees at the local parks department have been engaging in some government-funded lobbying on behalf of a proposed “hospitality tax.”

In fact here’s a blast email sent earlier this month from the head of the county’s parks department, Matthew Schell (a.k.a. Anderson’s Leslie Knope) …

PLEASE ATTEND AND VOICE YOUR OPINION AT A VERY IMPORTANT TOWN HALL MEETING ON MONDAY FEBRUARY 11TH AT 6:30 IN THE HISTORIC COURTHOUSE COUNCIL CHAMBERS. SEE MEDIA ALERT BELOW.

ONE ITEM ON THE AGENDA IS THE “HOSPITALITY TAX”.

A HOSPITALITY FEE CAN BRING SIGNIFICANT AND GREAT CHANGE TO RECREATION IN ANDERSON COUNTY WHETHER YOUR PASSION LIES (IN) SPORTS, CYCLING, FISHING, KAYAKING, BOATING, DISC GOLF, TOURISM, ET AL.

PLEASE ALSO SHARE WITH YOUR ORGANIZATIONS, CLUBS, CO-WORKERS, FRIENDS, AND NEIGHBORS. DO NOT ASSUME THAT SOMEONE ELSE WILL SPEAK ON YOUR BEHALF.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE,

THE PARKS DEPARTMENT

Schell’s email – which included several other county employees among its recipients – was sent from his government email address during the middle of a work day. In other words he used taxpayer time and resources to lobby for the passage of a tax hike.

Is that legal? Of course not … but in South Carolina (like Slick Rick said) “this type of shit happens every day.” In fact it’s one of the primary defenses employed by our state’s failed education establishment whenever market-based reforms are close to becoming law.

As we’ve stated on numerous previous occasions (most recently here) government shouldn’t be in the parks business. Nor should it be in the recreation or tourism businesses. Those are not core functions of government – and any money budgeted for them ought to be rebated to taxpayers. The very last thing we should tolerate? Letting employees who perform these non-core functions waste our time and money lobbying for tax hikes …

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