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January 21, 2005

Posted 1:00 AM Eastern

Elected public servants in the Washington State Legislature have introduced a bill that will require an individual to obtain a permit to collect rainwater on their own property for their own use. (Search). Senate Bill 5113 sponsored by Senators Shin, Rockefeller, Kline, Keiser, Rasmussen and Berkey has some constituents questioning their sanity, "These people continue to mismanage the budget and to make up for the constant shortfalls, it's either more taxes or ridiculous ideas like requiring a permit to collect rainwater on your own property," says Dick Boxlightner. "What's next," says Boxlightner, "a permit for collecting strawberries off plants in your garden?"

Seattle resident Peg Milner had equally harsh words about this bill saying, "When are the voters going to start paying attention to what's going on in our legislature and boot these (expletives) out of office? I'm sure this bill is to please the greenies who put money in their campaign coffers, but as far as I'm concerned, these idiots have been drinking spiked kool aid."

It's unclear how the State of Washington is going to enforce such a law, i.e., how many state employees will it take to monitor every private land owner's property when it's raining to see who is collecting the rain in rain barrels or cisterns? Washington State is a large state with many forests and lots of rural communities. Will the State of Washington have an army of rainwater permit police driving around the state each time it rains to stop and check to see if the land owner has a permit and are they collecting rainwater that day? How will they be able to tell if the rainwater was collected or simply fell from the sky into a rain barrel?

Washington State isn't alone in taxing the taxpayer without actually raising taxes. In Sacramento, California, individuals who have a home alarm system installed are required to pay a yearly permit fee of $40.00. Not only does the home owner pay the monthly fee to the alarm company, but the city also gets another $40.00 per year per alarmed home. One such resident, Cal Thromby, says this alarm permit is just another tax and home owners who choose to protect their property by having an alarm system are being unequally taxed, "These professional bureaucrats think they're fooling the people. They don't want to raise taxes because they think it will cost them the next election, so they slap certain home owners with permits, same thing. I think it's against the Fourteenth Amendment and our state constitution for equal taxation, but who has money to hire a lawyer anymore?"

In Oregon, Members of the Road User Fee Task Force saw the results of their 30-month expedition to develop an alternative revenue source to the fuel tax on gasoline: charge drivers for each mile they drive. On May 14, 2004, the RUFTF members toured the wireless technology that is the backbone of the preferred alternative the mileage fee.

The FUFTF stated: "As well as the gas tax has served the road needs of Oregonians in the past, it will soon become a declining revenue source. The Road User Fee Task Force is charged with the duty of designing a new revenue collection system for road funding to ultimately replace the gas tax. Oregon will be well served in finding a solution to this concern before it becomes an emergency."

The Road User Fee Task Force was established through HB 3946, passed by the 2001 Oregon Legislative Assembly. To date, this plan has remained a pipe dream.  

Ms. Milner did go on to state in the interview that the people of Washington State should vote against those senators who have sponsored SB 5113 in the next election for wasting taxpayer dollars during the legislative session on such "idiotic garbage."

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