Rain Tax 8
|This Rain Tax, Stormwater Fee or whatever you want to
call it - really sticks in my craw. If you ever wanted a perfect example
of why folks don't like and don't trust politicians, here it is.
In 1972, the EPA passed certain clean water regulations on the states . In 1977, Tennessee passed certain clean water regulations on some cities in the state based on populations. These regulations are reasonable and necessary and don't cost a lot of money. After all, who doesn't want clean water? In 1993, Tennessee passed a law that allows, but does not require, certain cities to pass a rain tax to fund stormwater and flood control systems.
This law is very specific and clear on how any Rain Taxes can be used and who would pay it and who must be exempt. These moneys can only be used 100% for stormwater and flood control and cities can not charge any more than is required to fund the construction, operations and maintenance of said stormwater and flood control systems. Obviously, Tennessee legislators of 1993 never realized that politicians of 2017 would so corrupt and misuse that law as to turn it around and not only, not, do anything for stormwater and flood control but use it as an underhanded, backdoor way to raise taxes and squeeze more money from their citizens. That's exactly what the Lenoir City council did with the passage of the Rain Tax.
Given that Lenoir City officials have no current or future plans for any extensive stormwater and flood control repairs or construction, they could not have legally justified any substantial Rain Tax on city residents, businesses, churches and schools. Again the law says every penny of any Rain tax must go to stormwater and flood control. So somebody in the city system came up with the bright idea, we'll just move a bunch of existing employees into the Rain Tax budget to justify how high the Rain Tax will be and that would free up all that money in existing budgets that can be used in any way they want to use it. This is not how the law was intended to be used.
Any elected official who raises taxes on their constituents unnecessarily should be voted out of office at the earliest possible opportunity. But any elected official from governor to city councils who would unnecessarily raise taxes on their constituents and use misinformation, disinformation or down right dishonesty to achieve such an underhanded tax increase should resign immediately. Obviously, they have lost their ability to represent the people.