Rodney Smith’s tricky taxes

 Editor’s note: The following letter was ad-dressed to Rodney Smith, via the Claremont COURIER, in response to his full-page ad-vertisement published September 19—KD

Dr. Smith, in your full-page advertisement published in the COURIER on September 19, you note that your statement is “sponsored by the Golden State Water Company and supported by Claremont Taxpayers and Homeowners.”

In that statement, you claim credit as a water expert because you taught economics at one of our highly-respected Claremont Colleges. I also noticed that in your postscript you refer to a website that urges us all to “Stop the Water Tax.”

We all are fully aware that we pay many kinds of taxes: property taxes,business taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes,etc. But repayment of revenue bonds,as specified in Measure W, are not repaid by taxes, but by a “capital charge”on the revenue bonds.

Why do you and your cohorts keep calling this a “tax?” Because it is a scary word used to mislead the anxious?

All of us know that we have to pay for the water company. It is really fairly simple. If you buy a house, you expect to pay a mortgage, and we expect to pay a capital charge levied on the basis of water use. That seems fair to all, and it can be paid primarily from the profits not going to a big national corporation.

Finally, I am sure you are aware that all purchases of property are made on the basis of an appraisal by an accredited appraiser. The city of Claremont has such an appraisal, for $55 million,based on the stated basis of anticipated income.

Golden State has no appraisal as of yet and no basis chosen for one. Why would you, an economist, not encourage them to secure an approved appraiser and give you some accurate figure with which to debate? Your estimate of massive costs, allocated out to$1000 per year, per meter connection,have absolutely no credibility because it is largely based on a Golden State fantasy.

Citizens of Claremont are a thoughtful and canny crowd. We understand, as do the citizens in most of the cities nearby,that local control and local decision-making will serve our community far better in the long run than a distant corporation eager to reward highly compensated executives and stockholders.

We plan to vote yes on Measure W because it returns control to those who use the water and moves it out of the control of Golden State Water Company.

Joseph Hough
Former faculty member and interim PresidentClaremont Graduate University