Wednesday, December 12, 2007

"Step up and Fund Transit? NOT! A taxpayer's perspective for a change

The voice of the majority; a public mandate is not 1/3 of 1%. That is the margin by which the “Opinion” Question One allegedly passed in Weber County in Nov. Allegedly, because about 1,400 provisional ballots were cast, thanks to what has been spun as overzealous Godfrey supporters. Many votes lay impotent on the cutting room floor leaving the true “Opinion Question One” tote in doubt forever.

But one thing is certain, as many citizens voted against the “Opinion” as those who voted for it. And that public voice is clear. Commissioners, do not raise our taxes any more!

The little people struggling to make ends meet have already been abused by UTA. We have already been paying. Weber citizens who drive pay 43 cents a gallon at the pump, $78 minimum per vehicle yearly with registration, safety, emissions, corridor preservation and transit fees. Add to that what our Federal taxes provide for roads and transit. $500 Million in grant money to Utah County already pledged, for example. All this for roads and transit.

Yet there is never enough. So every County resident is already paying for “mass transit” whether they use public transit or not. We all benefit from reduced congestion and energy conservation they tell us.

Since before 2000 we have been paying and as of 21 July 2007:

State Sales & Use Tax 4.75%
Local Sales & Use Tax 1.0 %
Mass Transit Tax .25%
Additional Mass Transit Tax .25%
County Option Sales Tax .25%
County Botanical Cultural, Zoo Tax (RAMP).10%
*Additional-additional Mass Transit Tax .25% (still hanging in the balance)
Downright depressing Weber Co. Tax Total 6.85%

UTA and Commissioners, what we see everyday is Olympic sized new busses which seat about forty people steaming around the County either empty or with a maximum of about eight people sitting in them. What we see is shining gigantic UTA demands, threats of service cutbacks, and obvious fraud waste and abuse. Fraudulent claims of service cutbacks - where little exists in the first place, wasteful and grossly inefficient service routings - using forty passenger buses brimming with very low rider-ship, and extortionist demands for inappropriate taxpayer funding.

If UTA cuts back services because they can not be made whole on yet another nine million of taxpayer money a year so what? It is way past time UTA quit sucking the public tit. UTA buy your own milk using the interest money from hundreds of millions we have already been bilked into paying you.

If our Commissioners “enact” another “Opinion Question One” Tax* we will be paying well in excess of $26.1 Million a year for “Mass Transit” whether we use it or not. No specifics, no cost benefits analysis, no competitive bids nor even estimates. It would be just a 4th transit tax with no end date on top of many other UTA taxes already being paid forever. None of these “mass transit taxes” have “end dates” attached. We do not think you Commissioners have completely lost your collective minds. Please prove us right.

Commissioners tell UTA they need to get their house in order and manage efficiently before they come to the sales tax well again. Ask when they will become self sufficient and sustain their own operations. A core function of local and State government is to facilitate, not pay for public transportation. If it was we would like our cut of the “Mass transit tax” in new BMW convertibles with all fuel and maintenance included please. Better yet, considering how many are using it you can buy the UTA customers each a “Beamer” and still save us taxpayers hundreds of millions. Something about effective “cost benefit analysis” and whether it was ever done in the past.

Minor Machman

3 comments:

ozboy said...

MM

Bravo! Keep it up, the public needs to be educated on these endless scams that are being foisted off on us by these hustlers.

ohyea! said...

Amen! How many years did UTA run an empty, oversized bus to the valley, when they should (or could) have been running a small van. Instead, they simply cut the service, but we still pay dearly.

Minor Machman said...

It is nice to know I am not out there alone and at least a few agree with what I sent to the three commissioners. The Standard Examiner also got this as a guest commentary or OPED but they seem more and more to be complicent with those from whom they receive advertising instead of sympathetic with those who pay for subscriptions. Without a little support every now and then I feel like a lone voice in the wilderness and wonder if I am connecting very well with what other people see and think. Thanks for these two comments. I very much appreciate them.