Davis county residents appear to be viewed as a bureaucrat’s cash cow. Especially, if you smoke.
To begin with, the Standard Examiner reported that “Davis health officials eye higher tax on cigarettes” (article isn’t available on line). The article notes (emphasis added):
One [legislative bill] could increase the tax on tobacco products by 50 percent to 75 percent. Utah ranks No. 34 in the taxes it collects from tobacco products, [Davis County Health Director, Lewis Garret] said.
The proposed tax may mean an extra $45 million in revenue for the state, Garret said.
I don’t smoke and really don’t like the smell etc. but I am also fed up with how smokers seem to be the never ending target of a modern day witch hunt. I can understand restricting smoking indoors (in public buildings/areas). We are beyond that, however, and are now harassing smokers in public outdoor areas, such as parks, with smoking bans. Soon, we will move beyond that and ban them from smoking in their yards (neighbors may be affected by smoke) and then their homes (family and/or animal cruelty). Additionally, smokers keep getting hammered with taxes and the lust for that tax money is insatiable.
I know the (dubious) argument is that increased costs might help them quit smoking. However, that is nothing more than government dictating how they should live and erodes the right of freedom to engage in a legal practice. If we really believe that smoking is so terrible that a whiff of it will kill us, then we should entirely ban it (you know, ala prohibition). Of course, that would mean government would loose it’s favorite cash cow.
In my opinion, it’s time we leave these folks alone (my preference) or just outright ban smoking.
But wait – I’m not done yet. There’s also the issue of UTA giving Davis County a “second chance” to get things right and enact another tax increase. At least the County commission held out this long but it appears we are looking forward to UTA getting it’s way:
Milburn said UTA expressed a desire to provide “the additional information we deem necessary for us to make an informed decision, and we appreciated that.”
So far, the party caucus tough talk on taxes from Commissioner Milburn seems to have no backing. We’ll know for sure at the end of January.
UTA lost revenue when we removed the tax from food. Instead of making users pay a greater portion of their quasi-government benefit, UTA wants us to continue to dole out our money and keep a big subsidy afloat. In a letter entitled “Davis residents resent tax after tax” one resident stated (emphasis added):
UTA is whining because residents didn’t approve another 0.05 percent tax increase. Now we’ve done it: UTA is going under, having to close its doors.
Here’s a novel idea: UTA, pay your own way! Why am I supposed to pay you money so you can make a profit? You don’t let me ride for free! So why should you?
Wrapping things up is the mandatory recycling fee – a new way for government to extract money from your wallet. I recycle a lot of my waste and don’t feel the need to force others to pay for my convenience. It’s nice to know I’m not the only recycler who feels this way:
…Bountiful established a free recycling center at the city shops area which myself and many, many others use.
If there are some residents that want this proposed “cost” curbside service, let them do it on a voluntary basis like before, and let the rest of us continue to use the free service which has worked great for us.
We pay enough fees and taxes and having something that is free taken away from us and replaced with a mandatory charge service doesn’t seem right. Those who like the free service that is provided and working efficiently need to speak up before it is too late.
Finally, don’t count on our ‘conservative’ Governor to be of any assistance. He believes we got enough back from last year’s tax surplus (overcharge) and we don’t deserve a penny of our overcharged money back this year. Fortunately, some legislators are batting for the tax payers but I’m not sure how good a chance they have with a tax-and-spend Governor and plethora of fiscally liberal legislators. Bummer.
UPDATE (1/2/08): The Commissioners appear to have stood up to UTA, for now. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a trend.