Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hypocrisy over gas rate hike

Lucas County Commissioners Pete Gerken and Tina Skeldon Wozniak, along with Toledo City Councilman George Sarantou, are upset about the proposed increase for Columbia Gas, even though the rate plan hasn't yet been submitted to the PUCO.

The estimated increase for maintenance and capital projects is $68 per year - "an average jump of about $5.64 per month for customers starting as early as Nov. 1" according to The Blade article.

You can hear for yourself from this WSPD sound clip that Comm. Wozniak thinks this is too much and a huge impact on families.

Strangely enough, these three elected officials had no problem with the huge increase in property tax levies that were on the ballot last November. Had all the levies passed, the owner of a $100,000 home would have seen their taxes go up about $50. With the election outcome, the amount was about $45.

For an even closer example, the garbage tax that Toledo City Council imposed upon us last year is $5.50 per month - $66 per year.

I don't recall any outrage over that amount - or even any concern - about how this similar amount might impact families who are struggling. Where were the press conferences and the demands that the service providers (the city or the public agencies) reduce their costs prior to imposing higher fees? Where was the press conference saying these costs are just 'too high' for the families in the area? Where was the concern for businesses?

It was non-existent. And that's the problem.

When it comes to government or public agencies, these individuals have no problem with taking more of your money. And, unlike Columbia Gas, you have absolutely no control over what government charges you. At least with Columbia Gas you can reduce your usage by turning down your thermostat, better insulating your home, or switching to more energy efficient appliances, etc. Even if you voted against all the tax levies, only COSI failed and you're paying more whether you want to or not.

As for the garbage tax, you can't opt-out of participation in city pick up and you'd still have to pay the fee if you did. And the garbage tax was only supposed to be temporary (yeah - right!), but is included for another full year in the 2008 proposed budget. At least we got to vote on the levies - we were given no such option on the garbage tax.

The problem is the hypocrisy of the elected officials. You cannot pretend to be outraged over increased costs on one hand when you've either supported or failed to oppose similar increases in costs on the other. If you're truly concerned about rising costs for families in the county, you'd oppose ALL increases - and especially when they come from government.

4 comments:

Black Swamp Road Geek said...

Knocked another one out of the park Maggie. This is great stuff and why we all read this blog.

If staffers have nothing else to do than help people with taxes then they should not be on the payroll. This service should be done by volunteers from the accounting community

Maggie Thurber said...

thanks, BSRG...

As to the tax filing help, there are many accounting volunteers who provide these services. I don't know of any government staff who do this.

Most of the public monies go for advertising, space, supplies. I think there are some contracts with firms who provide tax filing help, but those should not be confused with the numerous volunteers who give freely of their time and talents to help others - which is how I think it should be. And don't forget the United Way also helps out...

Hooda Thunkit said...

Maggie,

"Strangely enough, these three elected officials had no problem with the huge increase in property tax levies that were on the ballot last November."

Don't you see the difference? Those levy increases would have gone into THEIR coffers, not Columbia Gas's…

Oh, never mind, apparently you did see the difference. . . :-)

Tim Higgins said...

Somehow, we seemed to have forgotten something that once upon a time we all knew: TINSTAAFL "There is no such thing as a free lunch". Even when there is no financial cost, which in this case there has to be, there is ususually a corresponding loss in freedom and personal responsibility.

As for Pete and Tina's denunciation of Columbia Gas, one can only be shocked that two politicians up for re-election would suddenly attempt to stand up for the little guy agains that big, bad utility company.

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