EDITORIAL | Measure taxes by Top Ramen
February 1, 2013 · Updated 3:46 PM
When it comes to county taxes it’s time to stop talking about money and put it in real terms, like Top Ramen.
The commissioners can often raise taxes and fees without a vote of the people, and a few dollars here and there don’t seem like much. Recently, there has been the $5 annual Conservation District tax and the $40 annual Clean Water Utility Tax.
Now there’s a recycling fee of $11 per month, which the commissioners are reconsidering.
Before pulling the trigger, they should think of all the retirees, older low-wage earners, older people without jobs and baby boomers who kind of forgot to save for retirement.
The financial future of such folks is not rosy, as many now living that future can attest. Social Security may pay for the property taxes, utilities, minimal upkeep of the dwelling unit, medical expenses not covered by government insurance, and perhaps some “new” clothes from Good Cheer every few months. What is left goes toward food, and it has to be cheap and filling. Top Ramen fills the bill.
Weighing only three ounces, a package of Top Ramen can be breakfast, lunch or dinner, or sometimes all three. Add some chopped up soft carrots from the bottom of the refrigerator or the good parts of a rotting potato, and you’ve got yourself a meal. If you’re a survivalist type, some fresh road kill rabbit or frozen humpy flakes gives the noodles some needed protein.
That’s why elected leaders with the power to raise taxes or fees should think of Top Ramen when they’re doing it. There was a time it cost a dime a package. Due to the inflation the government says barely exists, the cost now is roughly three for a dollar. But we’re buying them on sale at four for a dollar just to keep the math easier.
Using Top Ramen math, that insignificant-sounding Conservation District tax cost us 20 packages of Top Ramen, or almost a week’s worth of meals. The Clean Water Utility Tax cost us 80 Top Ramens, or almost a month’s worth of meals.
Now we’re facing a more-or-less mandatory recycling tax, costing an incredible 528 packages of Top Ramen per year. Add them all up, and it’s no problem for a commissioner making over 70 grand a year, but it means a lot to many islanders. To make the message clear, next Thanksgiving invite a commissioner or two to dinner. Tell them we’re having Top Ramen.