Are fireworks displays a good use of local tax dollars?

Fireworks at Battle Creek in St Paul, photo by NVJ via Flickr

For the first time since the city began celebrating Independence Day, Red Wing is going without a fireworks display. A committee that raises money to fund the show failed to convince enough businesses and individuals that it was worth lighting up the sky in the scenic river town this year.

The show will go on across the state. Unlike in Red Wing, many community fireworks displays have a more reliable funding source: local tax dollars.

Today’s Question: Are fireworks displays a good use of local tax dollars?

  • Larry Sanderson

    Yes, it’s a good use of tax dollars, but only after we have no hungry, no unclothed, no unhoused, and no uneducated citizens.

  • PinguinoRoja

    It depends.. if the city can pull in additional revenues from events that go on throughout the day; then why not? But if they are just doing a display without a plan to get some return off of that money… then yes, it is a complete waste.

  • Duane

    “Are fireworks displays a good use of local tax dollars?” Probably just as good as spending 100 million dollars on a trip to Africa by our president. We also should know that our military bases in the US had to forgo fireworks displays because of the sequester.

    • Ralfy

      The cost estimate of $60 – $100 million is based on how much it cost each time Bush went to Africa – seven trips while in office, plus this latest. Of course, every time Obama is not at his desk it is a scandalous waste of taxpayer money – but when the all-time record holder for time away from his office (W broke Ron’s record) is absent, not a peep from the right. Your rant would have more validity if you applied the same litmus test to all administrations.

      • Duane

        Yes, you are right, except I am sure this trip by the George Bush and his wife was not on taxpayer dollars, also, many of George Bush vacations were to his ranch in Texas with a farmstead site about a mile from his ranch home for the secret service. I doubt the cost was that excessive for his time at the ranch.

        • Ralfy

          As a former President, W gets full Secret Service protection wherever he goes as well as numerous retirement perks. No, this trip did not cost the US as much as any of the 7 he took while in office, but it still cost the US plenty.

          • JC

            While in office, President Bush took 77 trips to the ranch, at an estimated incremental cost of $200 to $250,000 per trip. All told, he took 1,020 vacation days, nearly 3 years of vacation, during his 8 years.

    • JC

      If you were to keep the fireworks displays for the military bases, what would have cut instead? The law requires cuts – so what would you have cut from the military budget?

  • Jim G

    Public displays are OK, even John Adams said we should celebrate this Day of Independence with fireworks. Unfortunately, these loud noises and bright flashes frighten dogs and small children. It’s the private fireworks shooters who blast away into the night that bother me the most. So be my good neighbor and don’t be law breaker and frighten dogs and small children into the late night… 4th of July celebrations can be fun without shooting Roman Candles over your neighbors’ houses.

  • Ralfy

    Many of the fireworks displays around the state are funded by civic organizations such as the VFW or Lions Club.
    I find it interesting that fireworks that are illegal to use in Minnesota are legal to sell (“We don’t know what state the buyer is going to let them off in…”).

  • RP

    Of course it is a good use of funds… One cannot wait to “solve” important problems such as crime, drugs, hunger, and a host of others before spending money on “frivolous” things as fireworks. Spending and savings are two sides of the same coin. Balance needs to be advocated for Everything.