We may all realize a continuous Halloween Horror if the Waste Management user fees introduced this Halloween are allowed to go through. As it has been presented, it is unfair and totally unworkable.
Some questions need answers:
1. First and foremost what alternative methods of disposal does the Waste Management Agency propose to do with the money collected? Are the plans in place? Have arrangements been made for recycling?
2. What happens to the Beautification Funds that are collected? Will they stop? Have they ever been used for beautification?
3. Are the bulk of the funds collected going to a new means of disposal – or to salaries, rents, trips and seminars?
4. What prevents the fund from being raided if the government needs money for other things?
Secondly, the up-front tax is unworkable (on the collection end) and unfair (to all of us). With the 9000 items at various tax levels, it would take a genius to get it right every time. The added cost – just in the time it will take to clear a trailer – is untenable, and, in itself would be an added burden to businesses even if no tax was collected. The tax itself, being included up front, is then subject to gross receipts taxes as well! And that's at every level importer to wholesaler to retailer to consumer! By the time it gets to the consumer it's a whole lot more than the 'few cents a pound' the Waste Management Authority is advertising.
Then we'll be paying per pound for things that never make it to the dump. When I buy 20 lbs of dog food, my dog eats at least 19 lbs of food and I throw away 1 lb of paper. Why should I pay a fee on all 20 lbs? What about all the things the tourists buy and take off island – T-shirts, liquor, jewelry and souvenirs? We shouldn't have to pay for things that are not disposed of here. We also shouldn't have to pay for the rents or the additional employees and equipment this plan proposes.
I am not adverse to some type of fee to help manage our waste. It might even be necessary although this is something that should be covered under our escalating property taxes. However, this plan will do much more damage than good. (Remember the fable of the Golden Goose?) A sales tax dedicated solely to waste disposal would be better than this. At least it wouldn't require renting space at all the terminals, hiring even more government employees, and keeping businesses from doing business.
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