Water, water everywhere



In 1966, The Beatles recorded “Taxman,” a song about outrageous taxes. In this song they imagined taxing the street, your seat, heat and even your feet, but even the imagination of these prolific song writers couldn’t have come up with the latest tax to hit the country.

A week or so ago, while driving near Wilkes-Barre, I saw many signs that said, “Stop the Rain TAX!” I had heard of municipalities taxing rain, but I didn’t realize how close it was getting to us.

And then a few days later, I saw a story in the local newspaper discussing a new fee … the rain tax.

This tax, which the authorities levying it like to call a fee, is nothing but an additional property tax. In this case it is a tax on your roof, driveway and sidewalk. Rather than pushing back on Orwellian regulations coming from above, they push down on those they are supposed to represent.

We already pay property taxes (twice), income taxes and a local services tax. We are also forced to install and maintain sidewalks (which will now be taxed for stormwater runoff). Now they want to add a “stormwater fee.”

The problem with calling this a fee is that stormwater cannot be metered or calculated. Using impervious square footage doesn’t work because some people route the water from their roofs to their yards. Some yards drain very well, others not so well. Some people pump water that leaks into their homes from their yards into the street. The variables are not only too numerous to calculate, but too numerous to name. You might just as well use a random number generator.

The other problem with this fee is that my stormwater might be pristine and my neighbor’s filled with toxins, and it’s the quality of the runoff that’s at issue, not the quantity.

But the big problem is that we have people in government who would rather just take more money from their citizens than to figure out how to do the job with less.

It’s about time we put some people in office who can think their way out of a problem rather than taxing their way out.