Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Federal mandate for weather radios in mobile homes

I heard this one on the master's radio show. I thought it had to be a parody, but oh no, it's real:

The House of Repesentatives this afternoon unanimously passed legislation that will provide earlier storm warnings to people who live in manufactured housing, announced Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-AL).

Bachus is a lead sponsor of CJ’s Home Protection Act (H.R. 2787), which requires new manufactured homes to be equipped with NOAA Weather Radios.

Hmph. I'm re-reading Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution, and I'm not finding the part where Congress has the responsibility to keep people in mobile homes (who aren't in range of a weather siren, or aren't listening to the radio or watching cable or broadcast TV) aware of severe weather.

Note I said "aware of", not "safe from". When your federally-mandated radio goes off and tells you that a tornado is bearing down on your trailer, CJ's Home Protection Act doesn't provide you a storm shelter, ditch, culvert, or other low-lying area to hide in. (Yet, anyway. There's an awful lot of time left in the 110th Congress for the next unfunded mandate [probably Amber's Storm Shelter Act, or the ASS Act for short] to pass.)

Pataskala income tax - Permission Denied

Or should I say permission denied, again, this time 57.59% against, 42.41% for.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results (attributed to Albert Einstein).

I have to say that I don't understand the thinking here. As I noted in a previous post, they've put this issue on the ballot six times in the past six years, and it's gone down to defeat every time. I guess our elected officials are convinced that an income tax in Pataskala is inevitable, and they're just trying to wear us down until they finally get a "yes" vote.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pataskala income tax, revision 0.6

News flash: It is autumn, the leaves are changing color and falling -- and Pataskala wants to impose an income tax, again. The Pataskala (actually Newark) newspaper is all for it, naturally, because every other city and school district has an income tax, and it's time for Pataskala to get with the program (or join in the suffering). They want 0.5% this time around, with no credit for tax paid to other cities such as Columbus.

I have an opinion on this, but first, let's take a look at the scoreboard1 for the past few attempts:

November 2001 (Pataskala - 1.00% income tax): Against: 71.02% For: 28.98%
November 2002 (Pataskala - 0.75% income tax): Against: 68.61% For: 38.39%
March 2004 (Licking Heights School District - 0.75% income tax): Against: 83.83% For: 16.17%
November 2004 (Pataskala - 1.25% income tax, ??? credit): Against: 66.46% For: 33.54%
May 2006 (Pataskala - 1.50% income tax, ??? credit): Against: 58.95% For: 41.05%
November 2006 (1.50% tax, 100% credit): Against: 62.43% For: 37.57%

I see a pattern here, and I don't think I'm alone. Call me naive, or politically unaware, but ... I don't think the voters of Pataskala want an income tax.

The usual rationale given for an income tax is that it will reduce the property tax burden. I have two problems with that line of reasoning:

  1. Taxing something means that less of it is desired. So, an income tax means that fewer income earners are desired in Pataskala. Guess that means the City Council wants fewer two-income couples, successful single people, and other earners in the town, and more retirees and low-income residents.
  2. We, the voters, never hear about specifically how much the property tax levy will be reduced, only vague promises that it will be. I simply don't accept promises from elected officials on the subject of money, because there simply is no guarantee that the promises will be fulfilled (or that the elected officials making the promises will be there when the time comes to reduce the property tax).

Also, last year, Pataskala 1st brought up the ugly spectre of the idea that cities can raise the income tax arbitrarily once it's imposed. If that's true, then I have three objections.

Here's a thought that would mollify me, at least. Couple the next income tax ballot initiative (and you just know that another one's coming) with language to the effect that The City of Pataskala, upon adoption of (the income tax issue), forever and irrevocably renounces the ability to levy, collect, or impose residential property taxes. That'll tell me y'all are serious, guys. Right now, all I see is a transparent attempt to tax me two different ways, so you can raise one tax while indignantly pointing to the other one and saying "but, it's not going up!".

1 (all figures from the Licking County Board of Elections Web site) The Licking Heights election in 2004 doesn't really fit, as LH doesn't encompass all of Pataskala, but I'm just so damned proud of my fellow voters for flushing that turd, by an astounding 83-17 margin, that I just had to include it.