Thursday, June 11, 2009

Call 'em as they see 'em

Macon uberPolitician Erick Erickson has a good common sense post at Peach Pundit that I feel is pertinent to the ongoing discussion about Baldwin County solid waste collection and disposal.
Let us move beyond the semantics and just call it what it is:

"Any monetary charge imposed by the state, county, or municipal governments or entities whose existence are derived therefrom that a citizen is unable to alter through his own actions except by adding value to or subtracting value from the citizen’s real or personal property must be called a tax."

I guess in this case 'adding value to or subtracting value from' would mean deciding to move out of the unincorporated part of the county. But lets compare that with a guest editorial authored by the Baldwin County Commission about the new $13.50 solid waste fee recently imposed by said commission:

"The county has received proposals to address both of those issues by contracting its sanitation services for door to door pickup, which will
provide an upgrade in service and be paid for by each individual user rather than through the property tax...
"However, this will force the county to operate more centers than originally proposed with door to door pickup, and the fees from those who opt out will be used to operate these additional centers.This will allow the current sanitation expense to be removed from the property tax budget and to avoid a millage rate increase by the board of
"Some will say that this is a tax; it is a user fee. Whether you call it a user fee or a tax, it will be paid by everyone who uses the service and not just property owners."

I guess in the end it doesn't really matter what you call...perhaps just a bill. But who amongst us is going to get that water bill in August and say 'I'll pay your $13.50 as long as it's not an additional tax.'
If that's you, please write in to let me know how you see it.

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