26 Jan 2011

Tea party fail

Some politicians in California's Central Valley oppose higher taxes (or fees) on ground water consumption, claiming that people "cannot afford more taxes."

Other farmers want taxes to rise, to reduce water consumption. They are right.*

Higher taxes on consumption can be rebated back to members of the community, after they've served their purpose (in reducing demand). The money doesn't have to be spent. Of course, that requires that politicians don't spend the money on crap ideas!
* SW sent a good example:
County Board Chairman Dan Cronin... said the tax receipts have come to "subsidize" unrealistically low rates now paid by the system's customers. He thinks conservation will be a beneficial side effect of the rate hike.

"Frankly, I think if people paid at a rate consistent with what it costs, it would motivate many to conserve water," he said.


  1. Sometimes the government is better positioned than private enterprise to provide an economic good, and sometimes, whether it is better positioned or not, it does. We need to get people to differentiate between "taxes" and "charging market prices"; this isn't a tax hike, it is allowing a market to function.

  2. That has to be the knee-jerk response to the word 'taxes'. I think if Tea Partiers heard the phrase 'user fees' instead of 'taxes', their perspective would change.

  3. Exactly! It shouldn't be called a 'tax' when the price has already been artificially subsidized versus what the market price should be.

    These people who are complaining should look up what a Pigouvian tax means. It would solve a whole bunch of their problems...

  4. @Sullivanesque -- that means they'd have to say that tricky work, Pigou.

    Much easier to cry "tax" if you want to avoid a user fee that slows your (unsustainable) water use.


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