Everybody who goes to church is familiar with the concept of tithing – literally giving one tenth of your income to support the church and its good works. Of course the act is voluntary.
The people who pay for water from the Fullerton Water Works have been paying a tithe, too. You see, since 1970 the Citycrats have decreed that ten percent of the cost of a monopoly supplying you with water will be added to your bill, and then be immediately re-directed to the City’s General Fund.
In the early days, when water was dirt cheap it was a way to help pay for certain indirect costs of employees who were considered overhead support for the water works. It was called an “in-lieu franchise fee” like the ones the City charges other utilities to operate in Fullerton. Still, there was an immediate problem that nobody addressed: it was bad management, and bad accounting, and opened the door for all sorts of abuse. Decades later, in 1997, Proposition 218 was passed that specifically addressed the scam of governments charging “fees” that were nothing more than hidden taxes – just like Fullerton’s 10% in-lieu fee. It was now required that fee amounts be established through objective supportable analysis that was conducted transparently, in the light of public scrutiny. No longer could governments legally charge for more than any service was worth.
But Fullerton did. For 15 years the City continued to charge, then rake off a ten percent tribute from the Water Fund that went to pay for things like pensions and pay raises for all Fullerton city employees, stuff that had nothing to do with providing water to you. Not only did the city councils know about the scam, they heartily approved the slight-of-hand, year after year.
Meantime, the cost of water skyrocketed, increasing nearly 350% between 1997 and now, jacking up the illegal tax from $700,000 a year in 1997 to over $2.5 million a year now. That’s a rate of about 23% a year, just in case you’re inclined to keep track. A staggering total of almost $27 million has been surreptitiously extorted from you since Proposition 218 went into effect.
Those who support this cheapjack end run think it’s right and proper for you to pay this tithe without your knowing it, and without your consent. After all they’ve had plenty of opportunity to insist, at least, that notification of the 10% diversion be made on each water bill. But they never have. And that’s because their first priority is continue funding six-figure pensions, automatic raises for employees, and all the other things that constitute business as usual in their Church of The Almighty Bureaucrat. It’s their church, and as far as the High Priests and pharisees are concerned, you taxpayers can just sit in the back pew, way, way back there in the dark, and keep your mouths shut.