Forced charity hits a nerve

Just so you know, you may soon start seeing a $1 per month surcharge on your electricity bill.
Jul 12, 2013

 

Your dollar will be funneled into a fund that subsidizes heating bills for those in the state who can’t afford to pay their own tabs. It will raise up to $50 million per year from electric customers statewide.

The bill that allows for this new surcharge was approved 86-21 in the House and 34-4 in the Senate. It was signed into law earlier this month by Gov. Rick Snyder.

When Snyder signed the measure, he told news reporters that it would “provide a long-term solution to help Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens with their home energy and heating needs.”

That sure sounds like a nice sentiment, but since when is it OK to force charitable giving on utility customers who might or might not struggle in their own right to pay for the electricity they personally use?

Commenters on the Michigan Votes website had this to say about the measure:

• “Redistributing the wealth! Total socialism. I wish to choose what charities I contribute to and how much. Not have a mandate from the government.”
• “I already donate to needy causes. All the surcharges that the state wants are BS. I make just over $20,000 a year and am being bled dry by the people in Lansing after insurance, gas tax and other surcharges.”
• “I don’t know about anyone else, but you guys have already drained me dry. I am not rich, but I am not considered to be low income, either. I am disabled and have already had so much taken from me.”
• “I’m trying to raise my kids and the State of Michigan is just making me want to move!”

We find it hard to disagree with these sentiments.

Instead of zapping people with yet another fee or surcharge, why not ask customers if they’d like to have their bills rounded up to the next dollar? Why not ask customers if they would like to donate?

Surely this would generate support from those who choose to help charitable causes, and allow an opt-out option for those who might not have extra money available to give.

As this bill sped through the Legislature, it may be that many people didn’t know about it. But we do now.

Call your local legislator and make your opinion known. It is never too late to question authority.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

 

Comments

Lanivan

Speaking of NY, I keep forgetting to tell you - Chuck from Ridge, LI.

You remind me of the 'story' of the wife who spent all day hanging wallpaper, meticulously and attempting to get it right, and the husband who came home, stood and inspected it until he found a slight flaw in the knife cut in the upper left hand corner of the north-facing wall where two seams met.

A life lesson I've learned over the years is that it's so much harder to create something than it is to tear it apart. With your skills, you'll be able to find links up the ying-yang that will dispute this or that.

Let's just cut to the chase and push for Medicare For All (if it's good enough for the hoodlums in the House, it's good enough for us, right....oh, you already have it.....:<

Lanivan

For you, Vlad, and also TCR, something that resonates with me in terms of personal responsibility, free markets, and Obamacare.....http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/3...

Vladtheimp

Oh my! Find one article by a writer in a conservative/libertarian think tank that supports the liberal propaganda, a feature article in the New York Times, and suggest that it has to be true. B.S.

Here are what conservatives think about the article (to use the term of the left - deconstructing it): http://www.forbes.com/sites/grac... and particularly, http://iwf.org/blog/2789402/NYT-...

Good try though.

Lanivan

Other than to counter-balance your compliment, what is your point exactly, other than to deconstruct with more blah-de-blah-blah from even more conservatives. I will give you this - conservatives are really,really good at deconstructing and criticizing while offering no or substandard ideas of their own. Bereft of ideas, you all just soak in the same bathwater.

I will offer a compliment on your choice of link - the Independent Women's Forum. Damn you're good.

Tri-cities realist

If the govt imposes a fine or "tax" for choosing NOT to buy something, how is that considered "market principles"? Perhaps in Karl Marx's mind.

And yes, when we see something that encroaches upon our liberty, we will continue to point it out. I won't speak for anyone else here, but I'll admit, I don't have all the answers. So I am left with 2 choices, rely on either the govt or private enterprise to determine a solution, I'll take my chances with the latter, because if I don't like their solution, I am free not to pay for it... Unlike the govt, who will fine me and if I don't pay, send me to jail. Ah, hope and change!

Vladtheimp

Ridge is in the right county, but too far East.

Who is the one who is tearing everything apart because of perceived flaws? Why, its Barack Hussein Obama. Speaking of housework and links: http://oregoncatalyst.com/upload...

As it happens, I am paying for both my government health care (which I paid into for over 30 years) plus Medicare. That's the difference between working for a living to pay for the things you need for you and your family, and being a leech on society, not working, paying for nothing, and relying upon statists to pick the pockets of the citizens who work for your insurance, food, medical bills, housing, cell phone, big screen t.v., Ipad, and the like.

Speaking of tearing things down, the federal government's health care program is the model for the health care plan CREATED by Paul Ryan before you tear it apart. . . .

Lanivan

Before you get your shorts in a bunch, I wouldn't dream of implying you don't deserve good health care, or haven't earned it...I'm much more charitable than that (and smarter). By any measure, I don't think either of us could be labeled slackers in the work department, so please quit throwing your weight around.

If you want to continue with the socialistic free-rider concept of health care, fine by me. Being a doer and problem-solver by nature (why I admire Obama so much), I prefer to address the problem and make some effort to solve it rather than let it suffocate the country. I suppose some of your ilk see the easy answer as just starting another war, with maybe a draft based on eliminating first those who have jobs.....

I'm glad you brought up the Ryan plan. Here is a fair and balanced factcheck piece....http://www.factcheck.org/2013/03...

And speaking of wussy Governors of Texas, we have George and Rick as cheerleaders, sorry, "yell leaders". http://www.omg-facts.com/Sports/...

gordbzz231

i know most of of you are complaining about being bleed dry and it has to end somewhere, but let me ask you, who is going to pay your energy and heating bill when you cant because you fall on hard times, the local charity's is running out of resources and has to turn somewhere, until then lets be grateful

Tri-cities realist

I don't expect anyone else to pay my bills but ME. If I can't pay I will have to work it out with those that I owe, or I will go without. We don't need any more confiscatory programs to separate those who can pay their bills, from their money. If we continue on this path, eventually nobody will be able to pay their bills because their money will have been taken from them via taxes. That is the path toward socialism, and we keep heading in that direction. You are right, it has to end somewhere, and that time is now. As a former President once said "read my lips..."

Lanivan

And then that President (who I voted for and admire, btw) proceeded to raise taxes.....

Tri-cities realist

Luckily, I can say it, and not go back on my word, unlike HW. So you refrained from commenting on my slippery slope to socialism. Do you tend to agree with my reasoning?

Lanivan

No. It's an extreme, overly-emotional scenario that does not accurately portray the nuances of the government contract with its' citizens, is based on a stereotype or caricature of government that is single-minded, and lacks content and context.

But I am still glad you are back.

Tri-cities realist

Speaking of gobily-goop. Please help me understand the "nuances of the government contract with its' citizens". The only one of which I am aware is called the Constitution, although I wasn't required to sign, to accept it. And perhaps my view of the fed govt is singled minded, history has taught me that govt tends to become more controlling with time. Do you honestly think ours is immune?

Michael Johnson

This would not even be an issue, of course, if America remembered its roots as a community rather than a society composed of individuals. A nation is a community only as strong as its weakest members. Therefore we all have a vested interest in supporting those who, through no fault of their own, need that support. Unfortunately, too many in our society have decided they have the right to judge others in society when they have been told by Jesus that only God has the right to judge. Having forgotten that fact on our pride, we must now hold all in our society accountable for their failures to ensure a strong and vibrant community.

Tri-cities realist

Reduce my taxes 5% and I promise to donate it all to charity. We'll see who can do a better job of allocating it, the govt, or a charity. That someone would even question which would do a better job is laughable, but feel free to entertain us (not just MJ).

Vladtheimp

Oh my! Find one article by a writer in a conservative/libertarian think tank that supports the liberal propaganda, a feature article in the New York Times, and suggest that it has to be true. B.S.

Here are what conservatives think about the article (to use the term of the left - deconstructing it): http://www.forbes.com/sites/grac... and particularly, http://iwf.org/blog/2789402/NYT-...

Good try though.

Pages

 

Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.