07.01.2008 0

Foul Water Tax

  • On: 07/29/2008 17:40:05
  • In: Taxes
  • The next time a politician tells you to conserve something, be it water, gasoline, electricity – or whatever else they’re bloviating about – be sure to ask, “How much will it cost me?”

    In an effort to combat the state’s water shortage, Georgia’s Atlanta and Fulton County officials encouraged the citizenry to cut their water usage. The voluntary effort was successful, usage was cut, and we’d like to be able to say that everyone lived happily ever after … But, not quite.

    You see, it turns out that the bond debt for the Clean Water Atlanta program is financed by fees on water usage. Sooooo, (and this really isn’t that hard to follow) a decrease in water usage would quite naturally result in a concurrent decrease in water usage fees. Which, unfortunately, seems to have come as something of a shock to Atlanta’s elected officials.

    But, not to worry. The quick-thinking Atlanta politicos have come up with a truly inventive “solution” to the problem they created: they are now proposing a 15 percent water usage fee rate increase. And they even have the unmitigated gall to actually call it a “conservation penalty.”

    No, you really cannot make this stuff up.

    To her credit, at least one Atlanta officeholder seems to sense something is amiss. Councilwoman Carla Smith, chairwoman of the utilities committee, has put the proposal on hold, saying, “I’m struggling with it. I don’t want to have to pay a 15 percent penalty just because I’m conserving. It seems unfair.”

    Well, “unfair” is one word for it. “Sheer idiocy” might be a better fit. Or, perhaps, we’ll just settle for the old reliable short-sighted, blind-sided “politics as usual.”

    ALG Perspective: Not to be unkind, but every once in a while, you get the idea that outside of every politician’s office, there must be a sign that reads: “Check your brains at the door.” Which may be one reason why the sagacious Thomas Jefferson observed, “That government governs best which governs least.”

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