No one likes taxes. The mere word is enough to throw some into fits of rage.
But, like them or not, when it comes to public works, they're the means to an end.
In the case of clean water public works, though, the means have been absent for years, leaving drinking water and sewage infrastructure badly compromised across the country. The result: A $22 billion deficit in spending at a time when some aging pipes are more than a century old and many water and sewer plants are exceeding their 30-year lifespan. One result: sewage overflows, especially during rainstorms, that pollute streams and lakes, or flood people's basements (yes, yuck). Sewage in streams makes them unsafe for swimming and fishing, and no one needs to be reminded that sewage in the basement is as unhealthy as it is unpleasant.
The Clean Water Act in 1972 paid for many U.S. communities to develop and filter drinking water supplies and to build sewage treatment plants. Since then, a federal loan fund has provided low- or no-interest loans for maintenance, upkeep and expansion of those systems. But that fund is $22 billion short of what's needed, according to Food and Water Watch. That's why the group is getting behind a proposal in Congress to create a new idea to pump money into the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Funds, introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.
But this new Water Protection and Reinvestment Trust Fund would need money, and that means new taxes -- four of them. Blmeauer's proposal would set up a new fund modeled on the Highway Trust Fund, which is fueled by a gasoline tax. The water fund would similarly derive its money -- or most of it -- from industries and consumer products that contribute to water-related problems:
Would you pay those taxes for clean water and working sewers? Take the poll.
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