Current Observations Home Current Observations Home Current Observations Home

Annexing the House Advantage

Friday, October 06, 2006

Lets suppose for a moment that you and I live in a large neighborhood governed by a charter. Under this charter, monthly dues are imposed to help keep up common areas such as the local kid's playground and the roadway. Now, lets further suppose that one day I come to you and tell you that I'm planning to increase your share of the monthly dues by ten percent. What do you suppose the first question out of your mouth would be? If you're like me, it would be to ask why.

How would you react if I told you the reason I was imposing a greater burden on you was due to the people visiting your 'type' of home? In other words, because of the 'type' of home you have, the community has decided that your 'guests' are generating a greater expense to the overall neighborhood. Again, I'm guessing you would probably insist on seeing some evidence, some empirical data, or at the very least a cursory study supporting my assertions.

How would it sit with you if I then told you that my conclusion is mostly based on an abstract interpretation of the evidence and it would be extremely difficult to point to any one thing that would actually support my claim? If you're getting the feeling that I'm patting you on the head while telling you to just 'trust me' then you're absolutely right. To add insult to patronizing injury, I've just insinuated that your 'guests' are a bunch of low-life degenerates. Are you mad yet? Well, you damned well should be.

What do you think? Are the reasons I've given good enough for you to hand over more of your money to me? Am I justified in asking you to just trust me as I take more of your wealth? Or am I robbing you? Am I using your situation and your particular lifestyle against you to pick your pockets because I've got the public's support on my side?

Now that we're on the same page, I want you to read a quote from my local paper. It has to do with a new tax on gambling that the city of Lake Stevens wants to adopt. A couple of years ago, Highway 9 Casino moved into the Frontier Village area. Just recently, this area was annexed by the city of Lake Stevens. As you'll read, it hasn't taken long for the city to start milking the newly annexed cash cows for all they're worth. Below is a prime example of beaurocratic hyperbole explaining why the local government needs to fleece the public for more of its treasure:

For the second time in just over a year and a half, the Lake Stevens City Council is considering implementing an ordinance establishing a gambling tax. The proposed ordinance would levy a ten percent tax on gross receipts of all card games and a five percent tax on gross pull-tab receipts.
According to Chief Randy Celori, the city needs extra law enforcement manpower to police the calls generated by gambling-related activities. The chief said it is not possible to draw a direct correlation between gambling and the amount of crime generated, but that the impact is significant.

Understand what Chief Celori is saying: it's not possible to attribute gambling to the crime rate. If it's not possible to measure the impact gambling has on crime rates, then how can he say that it's significant? To be significant there must be something to compare it to. Only a fool would fall for this kind of political rhetoric. If I were the casino owner, I'd inform the city council that a lawsuit was forthcoming unless they could produce measurable data showing how the casino has affected the crime rate in the community.

In my opinion, the city's use of the 'trust us' excuse is nothing more than public-approved extortion. These folks are trying to run a business in a state that has no problem taking up to half of the business's profits through taxes, licenses, and fees. With the imposition of the smoking ban and this tax on gambling, there won't be a business left to tax. (Unless, of course, that's their goal--to drive them out of business.) We must all remember that the casino is already paying for police services in the taxes it currently pays. For the city to impose an even greater burden on this business, the city must prove a greater burden on it's policing services. Remember that the power to tax is the power to destroy. If you don't believe this to be true, then watch how long it takes for excessive taxes to cause this casino to fold.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Powered by Blogger |



Who Links