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Utility tax proposal is hot air balloon

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POSTED March 23, 2009 4:26 a.m.
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

The proposed utility tax is a hot-air balloon, constantly fueled by many rateplayers to preserve quality of life for those in the gondola.

Mantecans already pay high local utility rates, in part from regulatory requirements, and partly from our leaders’ generosity toward employees and themselves during our run of good times. Giving up most of one year’s salary increase is a paltry sacrifice - even for our city manager - in light of the economic hard landing we’re experiencing in the San Joaquin Valley.

While considering Mantecans’ quality of life, I hope Mr. Pinkerton and our city council also consider the effects of confiscating more money from those of us whose budgets are already strained, from residents whose income has been reduced, and from our significant population living on limited fixed incomes. For most of us, any new tax is a heavy lead balloon to carry.

We already pay high taxes and surcharges on our utility services, regardless of which jurisdictions grab the money, and we recently approved an added half-cent sales tax to help keep crime under control. Imagine the effect on utility rates and tax amounts if Manteca successfully transfers more personnel costs to city enterprise service accounts, which include local utilities.
 
But probably the worst aspect of any utility tax is its automatic tax compounding effect based on regular, virtually automatic utility fee increases. Cost and rate increases will magically increase taxes without debate. In effect, Mr. Pinkerton is proposing an automatically indexed tax which should be rejected.

Guy Donovan
Manteca,
March 22, 2009
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