I recently received a glossy, high-quality, six-page, full- color newsletter from state Sen. John Wozniak, touting his many accomplishments.

On the six pages, his face appears 13 times.

Thirteen is supposed to represent bad luck, but from reading the newsletter, one could say Sen. Wozniak is actually quite lucky.

As is the printer who got the contract to produce this expensive piece of campaign literature – paid for with your tax dollars.

The newsletter promotes many of the senator’s heroic achievements. He brags about the vast amounts of money he throws around his district.

The list is quite lengthy.

As someone who’s keen on economic development, I was interested to note his efforts on that front, of which there were many.

For instance, he claims credit for “securing” more than $5 million in funding for local economic growth.

But when a senator, or any other politician, claims he’s “securing” funds for economic growth, sometimes we have to sift through the propaganda.

The $5 million that the senator “secured” must have come from somewhere. Maybe from state sales taxes. Maybe from state income taxes.

But clearly the $5 million had an origin, and that origin was your pocket.

So the question is: What if that $5 million that was taken from the pockets of taxpayers had never been taken? (And remember, all of the other legislators are also looting the public treasury. So if you multiply these funds times the number of state legislators, we’re talking about some serious cash.)

What would taxpayers do with all those millions, had the senator been kind enough to let them keep it?

Well, some of you would have spent it at a shopping mall. That would have helped the economy.

Some of you would have taken it to a bank. That, too, would have helped the economy.

Some of you would have taken it to the local pool hall to gamble away. And that, too, would have eventually trickled down to help the economy. (After all, the hustler who won at the pool hall would eventually do something with his winnings.)

But when government confiscates wealth through taxation, it obviously has to pay for bureaucracy.

There are tax collectors, administrators, clerks and others who must collect their share of the take.

So when Sen. Wozniak lavishes $5 million in economic-development funds, we should really view that as a net loss to the economy. Because somewhere along the line, we would have been better off if he had just kept to himself and left us alone.

Except that Sen. Wozniak wouldn’t have anything to brag about in his newsletter except that he was a frugal senator and a great protector of the interests of taxpayers.

If only.

Chris Voccio is publisher of The Tribune-Democrat/Johnstown Magazine.

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