In much of what government does, I consider "spending" to be "investment."
What should be pointed out in the case of Franklin, the town screwed up. They made a mistake in calculating revenue and over spent in their budget. As a result the council override the mayor (who just won re-election with 67% of the vote) and voted to ignore their tax cap and increase taxes on the local residents to make up for their own mistake.
I'm sorry but you cannot call a calculation mistake an investment. Simply put, they over spent and increased taxes to make up for their mistake.
Investments pay off. There is a return on an investment. Tax and spending has no return. Over spending because of calculation errors have no return.
A perfect example is an article that came up in Merrimack not long ago that my wife helped author. The school worked with Honeywell to audit all it's buildings and they came up with a plan that did take an up front investment but in the long run saved the tax payers money. By making the buildings more energy efficient they were able to lower the over all costs of heating and maintaining the school buildings and thus lower the over all taxes people needed to pay.
That is what I consider an investment because there is a clear and quantitative return on the investment. It's not an imagined investment, there is no what ifs or might have beens stating things would be worse without it. We were able to show units of energy used before and after the Honeywell improvements were made and show that we used less energy and saved money. Return on investment.
Spending money on make work projects and unneeded government departments and positions with no return on investment that simply grow bureaucracy is not what I consider an investment.
The other point that politicians often forget is that tax dollars do not fall from heaven. In order to invest tax dollars they must first be taken from hard working families. That is money those families may have wanted to invest for their own futures. They are basically being told that the politicians like Jim know how to better invest their money then they do and that their individual needs are out weighed by the needs dreamed up by the politicians.