July 30, 2012
There has been a lot said lately about the government taking over trash pickup in Ascension Parish. Just how well will your parish councilman watch out for you, the small-business owner? I have only owned my business for 18 years, seven of those in Ascension. This issue should be a wakeup call for all of us. Let me explain:
How can the parish council upgrade the trash services to rival services provided in Baton Rouge and decrease prices to the consumer here in Ascension? Baton Rouge Parish subsidizes its trash pick up to the tune of $10 million annually from city and parish coffers. How will Ascension Parish government subsidize its takeover?
Garbage companies don’t need the government to bail them out, the free market is working. Yet, parish councilmen are considering entering into a contract that will require garbage companies to pay a franchise fee to the government in order to do business in Ascension. They want to pick our garbage hauler!
The government is advertising for proposals to contract trash pickup twice a week, bulk trash and recycling collection for the rural areas of Ascension Parish. What will happen to the private businesses currently doing this work, particularly the small business that is locally owned and operated and paying local taxes? Our councilmen think they look good fighting to get more for less for the residents of the parish, but don’t be fooled. Could the real motivation in this proposal be the 7 percent franchise tax that will be collected by the garbage company and paid to parish government. Would the parish council still be interested if the 7 percent franchise tax was eliminated?
Councilman Kent Schexnaydre stated at the July 5 council meeting that for it to be lucrative enough to provide affordable services to the parish, the company would need the business of the entire parish. Having exclusive parishwide business would also make it feasible for the company to pay the 7 percent franchise tax which will come out of the consumer’s pocket. A single company to provide service sounds a lot like a monopoly. As far as I know, monopolies don’t usually create a healthy business/community economy.
Small-business owners beware. Today it’s a “hidden” tax through garbage companies. What business will be targeted next?