The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Provo City Council Raises Garbage Fees 57%, Forces Opt-Out Tax

Congratulations, Provo, your taxes went up again.  And it's worse than you think.

Last month the city council voted 4-2 (5/3 Minutes, Item #7) to raise the fees on garbage collection from $11.00 a month to $14.50 for a single black can.  Councils Turley and Healey were the two who voted against the proposal.

Wayne Parker, Provo's CAO, claimed that the fee needed to be raised to $12.50 to cover costs.  But the liberals and environmentalists on the council then took the opportunity to pursue their own progressive agenda and voted to further hike the cost of black can collection by $2 more to penalize those residents who would not sign up for curbside recycling.  In other words, more than half the increase in cost of black can recycling will go to subsidize the curbside recycling.  Congratulations, Provo, you are now subsiding curbside recycling with tax dollars!

But it gets worse.  After raising the fee by 33% the council also decided to force its citizenry into "purchasing" a product:  no longer will trash collection be opt-in, it's now going to be opt out.  That means you have to submit the form available online at BY AUGUST 7, 2011 or call 801-852-6000 to not have to pay for the curbside can.  Otherwise you're stuck paying for an ugly blue recycling can in addition to your black one.  As Chair Healey pointed out, if you don't opt out, you will end up paying $17.50 for the two cans--an increase of 57% over the $11.00 you were paying!  Sounds to me like a redo of the Obamacare health insurance mandate.

While many longer term residents who are aware of the change and will read through the form mailed to them in with their monthly bill, many students preoccupied with studies will not.  When those not fortunate enough to catch the opt-out tax will be stuck (literally) in the cold with a huge surprise November bill.

The perpetrators of this curbside tax know that they can get unwatchful Provoans to pay the tax.  Currently only 24% of residents have the blue recycling can in addition to their black one.  With the opt-out the city expects to draft 65% of residents into recycling.  They further plan to use the revenues from recycling to propagandize the program (excuse me, "market" they termed it) the program instead of using the funds to subsidize the cost of the curbside recycling.  Just what we need: a government-subsidized "Re-use It Man".

In all, the liberal, environmentalist ambitions of the council were summed by the big-government phrase coined by Council Sterling Beck: "We need to incentivize people to recycle."

Rephrasing Beck's ideology: "Government needs tax its citizens and then use those funds to incentivize people to behave in a manner the government wants them to."  This ideology is nothing but pure socialism and breaks the trust put forth in the Declaration of Independence which gives citizens the right to pursue "life, liberty, and happiness [determination of one's own property]."

Mayor Curtis who as a candidate talked favorably about privatizing garbage pickup, has flip-flopped and now seems more interested in spreading falsehoods and spin about the program on his blog.

Consider the following by Curtis:
  • "No one is required to participate." (False.  I am required to take action or else on August 7th I am forced into participation.) 
  • "No sorting is required"  (False.  You need to review the Recycling Do's and Don'ts on our city's website.)
  • "You'll find you have much more room in your trash can for trash since so much goes into the recycling can." (Pure opinion.  When I had the blue can, it was nearly empty each week.  It probably cost more in labor for the refuse worker to empty the can than in the materials I recycled each week.)
Any entrepreneur who wants to pick up my trash for less than $14.50 a month, please contact me at: to get my business.  If I can't get a taker, maybe I'll just completely opt-out and take the trash myself to the dump:  at SUVSWD it's $4 per covered truckload.

1 comment:

Frank Staheli said...

They sure would get a better idea of how good their policies are if they let people decide whether they wanted to be involved in the recycling program. But the point, I think, is that that already know the answer to that question... ;-)