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Saturday, June 09, 2012

Using Electric Bills To Raise Taxes

We note that this weekend's Thoughts From the Frontline contains this description of what's happening in Greece:

Recently, when the current Greek government committed to actually collect some taxes in order to get more loans, a bureaucrat decided that a great way to collect property taxes would be to include them in people's electricity bills, a move that caused an uproar. Lawsuits followed, as the national power company tried to cut off electricity for nonpayment. In a country where it can take a decade for a legal matter to get on a court docket, a court rather quickly took up the case and ruled it illegal for the power company to cut off service for non-payment. This ruling led to a massive financial loss by the power company as people simply stopped paying their electric bills.

The government had to step in with a rather large chunk of cash to keep the power on. As of May 1, the power company announced, it would no longer collect property taxes. The natural gas company threatened to cut off supplies to the electric utility for nonpayment, and emergency meetings are being held to" avert the collapse of the natural gas and electricity system."

This is exactly how Austin, Texas, raises taxes. They simply raise electricity rates instead of raising taxes.

Little did we know we were living in a Greek state. The exception being that everyone here meekly pays their bills, including their taxes.