- Letters to the Editor
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Measure D is not being recommended by our City Council honestly. They are telling you only a half truth which is deception by purpose.
The impartial analysis authored by the Downey city attorney is perhaps more honest in certain areas on the subject. The measure would decrease our telephone city tax by 0.2 percent, hence the sales pitch as a tax reduction. But what they don't tell you is revealed in the impartial analysis, that this measure would allow them to start a new tax on all cell phones and all Internet-type telephone services, including your cable television-based telephone service.
Folks, that would be a huge tax increase for Downey citizens on the whole. And more money for the City Council to play with.
Where has the honesty gone in government, if it ever existed in the first place. Lately we had a sewer charge increase, then a water rate increase and now it's paving the way for a new telephone tax.
I don't know about you, but my take home pay did not increase at all. I am getting tired of being taxed to death by our representatives that cannot seem to spend only what they reasonably can take in as taxes, fees, fines and assessments. We as responsible citizens know we have to budget properly and cut out some things to stay within our budget.
Well, perhaps we as citizens must tell them to cut services we really don't need or, in some cases, don't want.
Since there was no rebuttal submitted in time to be placed in the ballot, allow me to voice my concerns before the election about this Downey City-wide measure.
Measure D discusses the Utility Users Tax , a tax on services such as water, gas, electricity, and telephones. The Downey City Council has taken the welcome and highly unusual step for California politicians of actually lowering a tax! May they pave the way for other brave and wise legislators around the state!
However, while technically claiming a tax decrease, when you read the fine print of the 25-page resolution, you realize that the city council proposes to lower the UUT tax from 5% to 4.8% only on telephones but plans to apply the 4.8% tax to "newer telecommunication technologies" that are currently taxed at 0%.
It is difficult to briefly summarize all the modern technologies that would fall into this category better than the summary provided on the ballot, but VOIP and Skype are two such technologies that have been mentioned specifically in articles online. The task of collecting this new tax on such services - and distinguishing between taxable services vs. non-taxable services such as digital downloads (if they bundled everything together, would we notice or take the onerous steps to seek a refund?) - falls on the shoulders of the service providers, which usually means higher service fees for everyone to cover the new required burden.
The city wants to raise money, which means, assuming you live in the 21st century, you will be paying more out of your pocket in taxes one way or another.
Until I have the power to automatically increase my family's revenue every time we need emergency cash, I will continue to vote "no" on any and every tax increase no matter how small. Even the ones disguised as tax decreases!
Published: November 1, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 29