Originally Published: April 13, 2004 7 a.m.
We could use our own oil to lower prices
I hear a lot of whining about gasoline prices, but how many of you remember when Sen. Tom Daschele and Senate Democrats repeatedly rejected President Bush's energy plan that included recovering our own oil from the known Arctic oil fields and other known oil reserves in America? I do.
How many of you supported the Democrats in fighting Bush tooth and nail in his attempt to become less dependent on Middle East oil? How many of you rejected building a refinery in Arizona after the pipeline break? Not in my back yard!
I'll bet a lot of you "forgot." I didn't.
Let's levy taxes on outsourced payrolls
I may have a solution to the Social Security solvency issue.
I understand both sides of the issue related to outsourcing jobs overseas. On the one hand, outsourcing companies need to stay competitive in the global markets. Economists say that the long-term effect of this outsourcing will be a stronger United States presence in the global marketplace and it eventually will create more and better jobs here in the United States.
Most economists believe that a tariff or penalty levied against outsourcing companies would have a long term negative effect. On the other hand, I empathize with the poor souls who have lost their livelihood through outsourcing, and I don't believe for one minute that we have done enough to ease their plight. Penalizing the companies practicing outsourcing may hurt the economy, and I'm reasonably certain the United States won't get these jobs back under any circumstances.
However, no one seems to recognize (or at least publicize) the negative impact on the United States economy via lost payroll taxes (federal, state, local and Society Security). Herein lies what I believe could be a solution to some of the Social Security financing issues that have been in the headlines of late as well as help offset revenue losses at the federal, state and local level.
I suggest that we develop some method of requiring the companies that outsource jobs to pay the commensurate payroll taxes to the U.S., especially the Social Security taxes. We would levy these taxes on the payroll lost to outsourcing. This would let the companies continue to reap the rewards of low-cost foreign labor, but also make up some of the shortfall of lost revenue in the form of taxes through outsourcing.
CV Ranch water should go to overdraft
Now is the time for the public to take action on the proposed CV Ranch purchase.
Prescott is planning to buy the CV Ranch and keep 54 percent of the water while Prescott Valley (and possibly also Chino Valley) will purchase the remaining 46 percent. The amount Prescott is planning to keep is exactly what it projects it will need for new growth. It appears city officials are assuming that all of the new water will go toward new development, with no long-term water allocated to relieving our AMA's overdraft.
In addition, the agreement includes no requirement that either Prescott Valley or Chino Valley use any of their water allocations to relieve the overdraft. This is an opportune situation to attach such a requirement, because both Prescott Valley and Chino Valley very much want some of the water.
Prescott officials also may require present users to pay some of the cost of new development's water infrastructure through user fees, instead of enacting full and fair impact fees.
Also, the mitigation plan for the Verde River is tentative and insufficient. Studies show that planned CV Ranch pumping will inhibit river flow and its ecosystem. We must protect this vital riparian area.
Our citizens' position:
1. We need to use a large portion of any new water sources to help relieve our overdraft (we should relieve the remaining part of the overdraft with aggressive conservation efforts that we will support).
2. We want the council to make water decisions in open session and early enough to allow public comment.
3. We want to protect the Verde River against any degradation.
4. New developments should pay full and fair impact fees, and any fees paid by current users should go only toward relieving the overdraft.
CWAG (Citizens Water Advocacy Group)