Pay Up Or Else

Merrimack has a debate currently starting up for an article they will be voting on this spring that echos the same argument we hear all too often from those who wish access to our wallets regardless of which town you live in...  Pay up or bad things will happen. You can insert any argument for nearly any article asking you to support spending tax dollars and it will sooner or later come back to this form of emotional blackmail, pay up or else.  They are using the gun in the room (Government) to force you to contribute to what they want.

In this most recent case it comes down to trash.  Allow me to start with some history...

Merrimack for years relied on a landfill, when the landfill closed the town had two articles to choose from.  One offered town wide curbside trash pick up and the other offered a transfer station which you had to take your trash too.  Personally I supported curbside as it was the cheeper option (we would have been paying the same amount for town wide curbside as we currently do for a transfer station serving only 1/3 of the town) but being as I live on the road which accesses the transfer station site I have an admitted bias and my opinions were discounted.  The vote was taken and the transfer station won.  The town spent over $1 million just building a facility that acted as a middle man where citizens drive and dump their trash then the town collects it up and drives it to another site. 

Long story short we now spend $1.7 million per year running the station which is currently used by only 1/3 of the town.  Since the station is run through general taxes everyone pays the same amount regardless of how much they actually use it.  Condo owners for instance have trash pick up as part of their condo fees and their local haulers take trash directly out of town so essentially they are paying twice as are the 2/3 of the town that doesn't haul their own trash.  A single elderly person who disposes of only 1 small bag of trash a week and recycles everything pays just as much as a family of four that doesn't recycle and tosses out 3 or 4 full trash cans a week.

It's a very unfair system.  And for the record, I'm one of those families of four who tosses out a lot of trash so I'm on the receiving end of benefits here.

As a solution to this unfairness and to help allow citizens more control over what they pay, the town manager has put up an article to put a fee on dumping trash so only those using the facility pay and those who dump a lot of trash will pay more then those who dump very little.  If you recycle you can likewise lower the amount you pay out.  And if you live in a condo in which your trash fees are covered by your condo dues, you are no longer taxes for a trash service you do not use.

In other words each pay their own fair share and those who don't want to use the facility aren't being forced to pay for others.

So what would possibly be wrong with that?  Those who would rather see you pay their way argue that forcing people to actually pay for their own trash will cause people to illegally dump.  In other words if you don't pay up they'll break the law.

Seems to me that's like asking someone for $20 otherwise you'll mug them.

Here's an idea, how about we actually arrest and punish criminals instead of forcing innocent people to pay out blackmail fees?  Or even better how about we start encouraging people to exercise the rights granted in article 2-a of the NH constitution.

[Art.] 2-a. [The Bearing of Arms.] All persons have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, their property and the state.

Instead they argue that we should just continue to pay their way.