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Tuesday, November 29, 2016



Tuesday, 8:15 AM.  39 degrees F at the ferry dock, 35 on the back porch.  Wind W, calm with occasional light gusts.  The sky is overcast and cloudy, the humidity 87%.  The barometer is falling, now at 29.16".  The week ahead should be cloudy and cooler, with a mix of rain and snow showers.  The dismal weather continues, like a broken record stuck in one place.
   I have been listening to a lot of rain falling on the skylights of late, a sound I used to enjoy.  Now I hear lose change and more being shaken from my pockets by an out of control US Department of Agriculture and its subsidiary Forest Service.  They haven't gotten to me or to most of us as yet to shake us down, but they are on their way.
   I knew this would happen, as I was listening carefully a couple of years ago when a new idea for storm water abatement (a far reaching concept, it turns out) was explained in  official meetings.  Basically it is this:  water runoff into sewers and onto roads is bad and should be rectified.  The cause of such runoff is man-made hard surfaces, such as roofs, driveways and roads.  So the bigger your roof and driveway, the more you should have to pay for the water that runs off your property.
   The amount of runoff is very easy to approximate; simply take the average rain that falls on your property, determine the square footage of its hard surfaces, and assess a fee for that amount of water that will run off.
   Seems logical and fair, does it not?  But what will be the fee per unit of water, and what will it be used to pay for?  Silence on that.  So we have here an undetermined amount of tax with no limits, and no boundaries on what it will pay for.  Storm abatement? Coast line management? Storm sewers? Social Programs? Income redistribution (your roof is larger than my roof, therefore you owe me)? Why not just have building codes that would set limits on hard surfaces?  Not on your life.  That would mean no new taxes!
   This, my friends, is the perfect tax, and it is imposed not by your elected legislature, but by bureaucrats in the Washington, DC swamp.  Or, almost as bad, by your Mayor and Council, eager for more money, and now hampered by caps on real estate taxes.
   Oh, this is ridiculous, and it would never happen!   It is happening now, in Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay.  But it is just a little tax, and the need is great.  And that is why it will grow, exponentially.
   I saw this one coming, and here is another one.  The Forest Service has a plan to suggest (read enforce) a ruling that all private property must have 40% tree cover (no one has ever explained to me, and I doubt to anyone at all, how that figure was arrived at).  In any case, 40%.  What if I want sun for a vegetable garden? 40%.  What about a lawn for my kids to play soccer on?  Sorry, 40%.  What if I want to plant a prairie?  40%!@*!We are the Forest Service, after all.
   And what if I don't plant my property to 40% tree cover?  We know how much sunshine your property receives.  We will tax you for whatever amount over 40% is not intercepted by tree leaves.  You realize of course that trees make oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide, and you must do your share.  All very just and fair.  Pay up.
   So, the bureaucrats now have the authority to tax water and sunshine.  At least the air we breath is still free.
   Not so fast...California is now taxing cow farts.  Let's see...Humans turn what percentage of oxygen into flatulence?

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