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To provide a clean, crime-free, and safe environment with competitive services that allows residents to enjoy a high quality of life, while providing commerce an environment to thrive.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Fair is Paying Your Share

The contributors of Easton UnDressed are occasionally are accused of being “whiners”. We catch flack for pointing out negatives. And we have been cited for episodes of delusional creativity. But after all is said and done, we evaluate our EU efforts by the actions we influence.

We pride ourselves on the fact that we don’t just talk. EU has an action wing that is building a nice little track record. We have some very real projects working as you read this (swimming pools and Charter Commission), and we have had many social victories (11 member Charter Commission, logo contest, and full pool season). This blog is a real tool, and we have used it as well as we could for the past 5 months. We use this blog to spread information and facts, to solicit audiences and participation, and to develop priorities and strategies.

We go to meetings. We go to meetings as members, as observers, and as guest offering testimony. We go to Council. We do our absolute best not to miss a public meeting sponsored by the City Council, and we are working to spread the EU presence to more of the City’s public meetings each month.

Our mission is clear:

To provide a clean, crime-free, and safe environment with competitive services that allows residents to enjoy a high quality of life, while providing commerce an environment to thrive.

Our focus of effort is also purposefully narrow. We advocate for the residents of the City of Easton. It was the City’s neglect, and failure to maintain services to the residents that created Easton UnDressed. The convoluted and illegal development of our Amusement Tax was the spark that lit off the EUniverse.

The battle to reinstate the City’s Amusement and Mechanical Devices Taxes was a victory and a loss for the people living in the city. The concessions that the Executive Director of the State Theatre for the Arts negotiated with City Council was not only in violation of the tax laws that govern IRS 501(c)(3) sheltered organizations (IRS publication 557 page 45 column 3), they were unfair to residents and other taxable organizations.

We, the people, fought hard to keep the amusement tax fair. But our efforts were lessened by the editorial power of people who do not even live in our city. Our working class concerns were consumed by posh elitist whims. The editors of the Express-Times lobbied against the tax solely because of their sentiments for the Theatre. Sentiments that mean very little to 26,000 people who lend their dwindling resources to support the significant human footprint placed upon us by visiting theatre-goers.

Now the editors of “our” paper have decided to complete their assault on our burden relief by attacking the Mechanical Devices Tax. This time they are championing the starving bar and coin-op laundry owners. They are arguing that our rights to enjoy punch cards, jukeboxes, and a higher profit margin on laundry are being oppressed by making someone pay $25 dollars a year on a machine that makes the money back in a day. (estimate 9 loads at $1.50, 40 minutes/load, open at 7am = $27 for 2 washers by 1pm)

The argument that a coin operated laundry is simply a public service to low and fixed-income residents is a bit of an obfuscated exaggeration. They left out the struggling Lafayette students. Laundry owners should not be “left alone” because they offer service to lower income Eastonians. The laundry owner on 6th Street was billed $1,370 (Express-Times 3/19/21). The tax is costing him a WHOPPING $3.75 a day ($3.74 on a leap year). One load of whites, 2 loads of colors, and Walla! The tax is paid.

It is our heartfelt opinion that the editors of the Express-Times need to stop trying to affect our usage taxes. These taxes are going to allow more of the public’s burden to be shared. We always seem to miss it when the editors are standing up for the overtaxed homeowners in the city. We know it’s not that they haven’t mentioned our ever-increasing tax burden; it’s more likely that the lack of follow-up articles causes us to overlook their support.

The tax is what it is. It is a way to share the costs of municipal services in this county-seat city with the visitors, transients, College, county government, undisclosed population, and the renters.

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