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E-M:/ Time to Stop Using Taxes to Pay for Environmental Destruction

Enviro-Mich message from jmgear <jmgear@acd.net>

Sky High Fuel Costs Demand A New Flight Plan

By John Gear

Now that Mayor Bernaro and the City Council have found that there are no
easy program or service cuts to cure an $11 million deficit, and now
that we’ve often heard that “everything is on the table,” it’s time to
mention one tax-consuming program that has definitely not been on the table.

What is it? Well, let’s see how many clues you will need to guess the
program, the least deserving use of taxpayers’ money in town.

First, it’s a government subsidy for a program that gives almost 100% of
its benefits to businesses in the private sector. A sort of homegrown
corporate welfare program.

Second, giving away tax money on the theory that “what’s good for
business is good for Lansing” has—--as usual—--led to the poor paying taxes for programs that they can only afford to watch wealthier folks enjoy.

Third, as always seems to happen when you find tax money being used to
prop up private businesses, the very same business types who will howl
if their subsidy is cut off are the ones who drone on about the
importance of keeping taxes low. In this particular case, the tax
source—--the local property tax--—has nothing to do with the activity being subsidized.

Still no idea? Well, recall your last gasoline fill-up. That’s a clue,
because most of the tax money we put into this program ends up with the
oil companies too. In fact, this activity, which you are forced to
subsidize through your property tax, is so wasteful of energy that it
has never been reliably profitable. That’s right—--we pay taxes to support a business model that has been a proven failure for decades. That’s why the private businesses involved, and their well-paid CEOs, won’t lift a finger without tax subsidies.

Still not sure? Well, surely you must be getting warmer now. And, in
fact, so is everyone, because this astonishing energy wastefulness
causes an equally astonishing amount of global warming, contributing to
the collapse of ecosystems and the extinction of species all across the

Well, no need to worry about that, because you can always leave your
worries behind and “Fly Lansing” to someplace nice like Vegas, right?
What? You can’t afford to fly? Oh well, too bad—--since you help pay
others to vacation elsewhere, taking their money out of the local economy.

Which is another reason that Lansing and Ingham County should act now to
privatize the airport and cut off the annual $3 million subsidy, which
is currently going to support some of the worst-run businesses in
America, the airlines.

Now that we’re grappling with our oil addiction, we should stop
encouraging this obscenely wasteful folly, which causes the most
environmental harm of any method of travel. Cutting the airport subsidy
would free up $3 million per year, which we could put toward turning
CATA into a regional transit system, an actual necessity.

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